Packers film room: What to expect from rookie LB Edgerrin Cooper

The Green Bay Packers selected Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper with the 45th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, marking him as the first off-ball linebacker to come off the board.

The Packers were also the first team to draft an inside linebacker in 2022 when they took Quay Walker 22nd overall.

Green Bay is currently in the process of transitioning to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, so additions to the linebacker room were expected. Of course, in today’s NFL, defenses spend most of their time in nickel with two linebackers. However, the Packers have an opening they need to fill after releasing 2021 All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell earlier in the offseason.

It would appear that the expectation is to have Cooper replace Campbell as the three-down linebacker, pairing him with Walker. He certainly has the athleticism and skill set to do so.

Cooper is listed at 6-2, 230 pounds and was a good tester, running the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and logging a relative athletic score of 9.13. A two-year starter for the Aggies, he finished with 205 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles. That sort of production made a case for Cooper as the best inside linebacker in this year’s class.

Of course, teams don’t draft players based solely on their athletic measurables and prior statistics. The number one indicator of whether a guy can play is through his film. So, for this film room, we are taking a closer look at some of Cooper’s tape from his senior season.

Afterward, we will have a better idea of what the Packers see in Cooper.

Let’s begin.

Run Defense

A part of the reason why Cooper is able to rack up tackles is his processing skills and football IQ. Basically, he knows where to be to make plays. Cooper is in great position here, filling the cutback lane perfectly and is able to wrangle the running back down for a TFL.

Cooper is at his best when he is playing downhill. His play speed is evident in this play, in which he beats the blockers to the point of attack and shoots the gap to get his hands on the running back. 

This play highlights his athleticism, vision, and understanding of leverage. Cooper’s eyes never leave the ball carrier as he shuffles his feet and gets in position to track down the running back, whether he chooses to bounce the run outside or cut back. In this instance, the back sticks his foot in the ground, but Cooper is there waiting for him. It even results in a fumble. 

Again, when Cooper is kept clean and can violently trigger downhill, he can be super disruptive.

When not impeded by blockers, he shows good range as a lateral defender as well.

Cooper isn’t just all speed, either. He possesses the functional play strength to stalemate a running back in the B gap.

Coverage, Pass Rush, Spy Work

Cooper flashes some impressive range in coverage as well. Lined up over the center, watch as he comes from the opposite hash to track down the running back catching a pass in the flat, arriving in a punishing manner.

He has the speed to cover running backs and tight ends moving vertically. Here, he completely takes away the back running a wheel route out of the backfield.

Cooper could find himself occasionally utilized as a pass rusher in Green Bay. In this play, he is lined up on the edge and used as the looper on a stunt. He shows good patience on the play and is able to get home against second-overall pick Jayden Daniels.

Cooper will also be a good spy option when the Packers face mobile quarterbacks. He has the athleticism to tackle in space. 


Green Bay has added a twitchy second-level defender who can wear many hats in their new defense. He has all the tools to be a three-down defender alongside Walker. Some have questioned if he will be the MIKE linebacker since that is what he played in college. However, the Packers aren’t likely to label either Cooper or Walker. Both can play the MIKE or WILL on any given play and having that flexibility can’t be understated. 

Overall, Green Bay is getting an impactful player who will likely be a day-one starter. Cooper is a prototypical modern linebacker who will thrive in an aggressive scheme. My main concerns are his hand usage when stacking and shedding blockers. He will need to work on his technique so it is more functional/consistent. Cooper will also need to clean up his missed tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, he missed double-digit tackles in three consecutive seasons at Texas A&M. The film shows that sometimes his angles are too aggressive, making him susceptible to misses from elusive ball carriers. 

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire