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Green Bay Packers select Texas A&M LB Edgerrin Cooper with the 45th overall pick. Grade: A+

10 years ago, Edgerrin Cooper would have been selected in the first round, and nobody would have given it a second thought. Even with the devolution of perceived linebacker value in the NFL, Cooper ideally fits the modern prototype with his straight-fire speed, awareness to the ball, and ability to do everything from killing run fits to excelling in coverage. New Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley’s job will be to mitigate the rogue elements of Cooper’s hell-bent style with the richness those attributes bring to the field.

Edgerrin Cooper was a four-star recruit from Covington High School in Covington, Louisiana who played running back and linebacker, and was also a track star. If you’ve watched his tape, Cooper’s track background will not surprise you one bit. He chose the Aggies over Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M and started to become a force in 2021.

Last season, Cooper had 10 sacks, 27 total pressures, 58 solo tackles, 56 stops, and 17 tackles for loss. He also allowed 14 receptions on 16 targets for 132 yards, 125 yards after the catch, no touchdowns, no interceptions, two pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 101.0.

When you watch Cooper’s tape, you may be forgiven for thinking that somebody sped it up, until you realize that everybody around him is moving at a slower rate. Cooper’s field speed is a plus/plus attribute, and it shows up everywhere. It’s the extent to which he’ll be able to work through some size and awareness issues that will determine his NFL potential.

PLUSES

— Dude is FAST all over the field. 93rd percentile 40-yard dash (4.51) and 88th percentile 10-yard split (1.54) are blatantly obvious on the turf.

— Can just scald to the pocket as an edge defender or as an off-ball blitzer; Cooper moves like a cornerback when he’s bringing extra pressure.

— Shoots gaps to the backfield and can be a TFL machine. Strong and aggressive for his size; he’ll throw running backs around.

— Comes down on screens and other short passes to lay the wood.

MINUSES

— Missed tackles and whiffs happen a bit too often; it’s a part of any Pantera playing style, and he’ll be even better if he can clean it up.

— Needs to slide off blocks as opposed to engaging physically; 230 pounds is 230 pounds. Tight ends will seal the edge against him… if they can catch up.

— Opportunistic tackler who will occasionally get a bit too “creative” with his technique.

— Cooper will need to strike a balance between going nuts to the ball on every play and the discipline required for consistent short and intermediate coverage. Has all the athleticism needed to work the seam, but there are times when you’re not sure what he’s doing out there.

Cooper has been one of my favorite players to watch in this draft class, regardless of position. And his athletic profile fits what most teams want in an every-down linebacker these days. He’ll be all over the place at times when he gets to the NFL, but with the right kind of coaching, he could be an ideal guided missile.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire