Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp has all sorts of potential for 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Cooper Kupp /

With the 69th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the Los Angeles Rams selected Cooper Kupp, and ended up with a steal at receiver.

When the Los Angeles Rams selected Cooper Kupp in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, not many people knew who he was. Kupp played his college ball at Eastern Washington University, which was a Division I school that played in the FCS. Let’s just say, Kupp left a huge mark on Eastern Washington and the FCS as a whole when taking everything into consideration.

Kupp enrolled at Eastern Washington in 2012 where he red-shirted for his freshman year. As a red shirt freshman in 2013, Kupp smashed single-season receiving records in the FCS after recording 93 receptions for 1,691 receiving yards with 21 touchdowns. On top of all this, Kupp had 14-straight games with a touchdown reception, becoming a small blip on people’s radar.

In his second year at Eastern Washington, Kupp built on his strong performance from his freshman year in 2014. Kupp totaled 1,431 yards on 104 catches and 16 touchdowns. Now, let’s fast forward to 2016, Kupp’s last year at Eastern Washington.

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There was much speculation that Kupp would enter the 2016 NFL Draft and forgo his senior year, but Kupp was determined to break even more records. In 2016, Kupp accumulated 117 receptions for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns. Kupp had accomplished what he set himself out to do.

At the end of his collegiate career, Kupp had racked up 6,464 yards receiving in the FCS, surpassing a guy you may have heard of before, Jerry Rice. Rice held the previous record of 4,693 yards receiving from when he played in college from 1981-84. Kupp also had a whopping 73 receiving touchdowns in his college career, which broke David Ball’s record of 58 touchdowns in the FCS. Kupp was ready to make the leap to the NFL.

Now, these stats may not mean much now that he’s in the NFL, but if you knew the type of player Kupp was in college, you’d understand why he was able to transition so easily into the NFL last year. In Kupp’s rookie season, he gathered 62 receptions for 869 yards and five touchdowns. These stats may not jump off the page to anybody but is was fairly impressive considering the fact he was playing behind Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods all season at wideout.

In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Kupp had the best grade among rookie receivers:

Kupp did most of his damage out of the slot last season. Kupp definitely benefited from having an offensive genius like Sean McVay at head coach, but there’s no denying the talent he has as a receiver. Even with Woods and Watkins on the roster, Kupp was second on the team in receptions only behind Todd Gurley who had 64 receptions. Rams quarterback Jared Goff saw Kupp as a reliable option as he targeted him 94 times, which led the team.

Now, the million dollar question is, how good can Kupp be in this Rams’ offense going forward? The answer is, he can be very good. The Rams lost Watkins in free agency, but they replaced the deep-threat wideout with another speedy receiver in Brandin Cooks. Cooks is the type of player that can open a lot up for an offense, and give more opportunities to guys like Kupp because of the attention he gets from a defense.

Kupp showed last year that he’s very physical and hard to bring down after catching the ball. Kupp was fifth among NFL receivers in forcing missed tackles with 16. He also was very good against press coverage, where according to Pro Football Focus, he had the highest passer rating when targeted in press coverage. That’s an impressive feature for a rookie in the NFL.

I believe Kupp has just scratched the surface in his rookie year and the sky is the limit for him heading into his sophomore campaign. With a year under his belt in the NFL, who knows what he could do especially on a team that seems to be on the rise and hungry for a Super Bowl.

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Kupp is the type of player that could have a long, successful career in the NFL. If you didn’t know who Kupp was last year, you’ll get to know him during the 2018 season.