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The Kansas City Chiefs continue to meet with draft prospects virtually ahead of the 2021 NFL draft. This time they’re one of the many teams interested in a small school offensive lineman out of the FCS.
According to both NESN’s Zach Cox and The Draft Network’s Justin Melo, the Chiefs have met with Merrimack College OL Sam Cooper. Without the typical pre-draft circuit, Cooper is still a bit of an under-the-radar prospect. He’s gained some steam over the past few weeks, between his performance at the Hula Bowl and the numbers that he put up at his pro day.
Cooper was born in Lagos, Nigeria and didn’t begin playing football until high school. After transferring from the University of Maine in 2018, Cooper made an immediate impact, appearing in six games and earning a role as a starter. The following season Cooper would be selected as a team captain and would go on to start all 10 games at left guard for the Warriors. He helped them to some marks that ranked them among the best offenses in the conference.
The Northeast Conference postponed its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooper has very limited experience, playing in those 16 games with Merrimack and then appearing in just four games at the University of Maine.
Listed at 6-2, 305 pounds with 33-inch arms, Cooper is not the tackle prospect that Chiefs fans are clamoring for. At his size, he’s more likely a center prospect for Kansas City. He’s known as a really aggressive player in the run game, with a finisher mentality. He’s also proven to be a savvy pass-blocker with strong hands.
It’s hard to say if Cooper will be drafted, but given the interest that he has been receiving, it’s a safe bet that he sneaks into Day 3. Other teams that have shown interest in Cooper include the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills.