Cooper Kupp Razzles and Dazzles at Senior Bowl
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Cooper Kupp. For residents of Eastern Washington and fans of EWU football, the name carries a legendary significance — 73 TDs (NCAA FCS record); 6,464 yards (NCAA record); 428 receptions (NCAA FCS record). Soon, millions of households across America could become well accustomed to his name.
Over the past week, Kupp had the chance to showcase his talents to NFL personnel at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Practices each day were broadcasted across television networks.
These practices were where Kupp began making name for himself amongst NFL circles. Kupp was the talk of the Senior Bowl, with scouts, draft analysts and reporters raving about the former EWU wide receiver.
The excitement for Kupp started right off the bat at the Senior Bowl on day one of practice, with Bleacher Report NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller declaring “The Cooper Kupp love is real” via Twitter. The hype really began to steamroll when Kupp made a spectacular play on one of the top cornerback prospects, Iowa DB Desmond King and the play was tweeted out by Rob Lowder of The Niners Wire (USA Today Sports).
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 24, 2017
The tweet garnered a bevy of engagement — 543 retweets and 1,413 likes. From there, things only went up for Kupp. Day after day, practice after practice, Kupp continued to amaze. Soon, the Senior Bowl was being declared Cooper Kupp’s. Mike Garafolo, national reporter for the NFL Network, was one of those people heaping praise onto Kupp, calling his route running ‘dazzling.’
We're all living in Cooper Kupp's world, people. The Eastern Washington WR is dazzling with his route running again today.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 25, 2017
Kupp is no longer a novelty of Washington state. He is now projected to be drafted higher than initially thought, with multiple analysts having moved Kupp’s ranking up because of his Senior Bowl performance.
Prior to the Senior Bowl, Kupp was thought of by analysts as a third or fourth-rounder. Scouts were unsure of Kupp’s potential as most scouts are with FCS players. That has changed dramatically now that scouts and analysts have received a more extensive look of Kupp. Miller from Bleacher Report currently has Kupp ranked 42nd overall (No. 4 WR) in his top 300 draft rankings and says Kupp has chance to leapfrog Washington WR John Ross in the rankings — who is currently ranked as the No. 3 WR.
Gil Brandt, the former vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1989 (2 Super Bowls; 5 NFC Championships), said that if Kupp runs well at the combine, it is possible that he could sneak into the draft’s first round.
EWU WR Cooper Kupp really helping himself at @seniorbowl. If he runs well at combine, possible he sneaks into Round 1.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 25, 2017
Besides the honor of being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, this carries a historical and financial significance.
First, EWU has never had a first-round draft pick in its history; OL Michael Roos was a second round pick in 2005. It is only fitting that Kupp would be the first EWU player to be selected in the first round.
Secondly, one’s first NFL contract is dictated entirely on the position they are selected at. A first-round contract is worth far more than a second-round contract, third-round contract, etc. If, hypothetically, Cooper Kupp gets drafted at No. 14 to Philadelphia Eagles (which has been speculated) — last year’s No. 14 pick signed a four year, $11,884,317 million deal. If Kupp were to fall to the second, third or even fourth-round, that contract would be significantly less — second-round contracts average around $4.8 million, third-round contracts average around $3.1 million and fourth-round contracts average around $1.2 million. So, we are talking at least a $5 million difference. Looking ahead, Kupp will have two more potential opportunities show teams and scouts his ability. First, Kupp will be participating in the NFL Combine from February 28 – March 6 at Lucas Oilfield Stadium in Indianapolis. This is the main stage where all of the best collegiate talent come together to workout in front of NFL teams; it is essentially the “main interview” for aspiring NFL players.
Second, usually colleges hold “pro days” — their mini version of the NFL Combine. EWU’s pro day has yet to be announced, but according to Dave Cook, EWU sports information director, the pro day will likely occur in early April.