Gator Report

Antonya English

Riley Cooper making huge impression on scouts at Senior Bowl

29

January

When the Florida football season ended, Riley Cooper said he planned to put all his energy into proving NFL scouts that he's a much better wide receiver than most believed.

He said he needed to prove he was strong enough, fast enough and had good enough pass-catching skills to play at the next level.

Apparently, he's doing just that this week during practices for the Senior Bowl. While his former roommate Tim Tebow is drawing mixed reviews, Cooper is apparently making a strong impression on NFL personnel.

"I was very impressed,' ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. "I think Riley Cooper, if you wanted a list of six or seven guys that really helped themselves this week, I would put Cooper on that list. I think from his size to his athleticism. He’s quicker and more athletic than I expected. When you see him in these drills and working against these  cornerbacks – there are some really, really talented cover corners here . And I think the fact that he held up as well as he did and caught the ball with as much consistency as he did, I think it really speaks volumes about the type of player he could be at the next level.''

Cooper announced this week that he has decided not to play professional baseball and concentrate solely on an NFL career. He was a 25th round pick by the Texas Rangers last August, but did not report earlier this month as the Rangers had expected. If McShay is correct in his assessment, that may turn out to be a very wise decision for Cooper.

"He’s not going to be a first-round pick, but there’s a chance, it’s an outside chance, but there’s a chance a team would take him late in the second round,'' McShay said. "But I think he now projects somewhere in that third round range, which is really moving up if you think about it. Coming into the year, he was I don’t want to say an afterthought, but he was more a fifth, sixth, seventh round prospect. He really had to show a lot this year and he did. Now he’s done everything he can at the all-star game. And if he works out well, he’s got a chance to get into the top three rounds.''


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:37pm]

    

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