WR Cooper Kupp crashes Rams Draft presser over his slower 40 time

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have a remarkable knack for finding value in players that 31 other NFL teams have glossed over. Perhaps no other selection under the watch of GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay has produced better results than the 69th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft that added wide receiver Cooper Kupp to the Rams’ offensive arsenal.

In that year, Kupp was my steal of the draft selection. Of course, I saw just how handily he thwarted the pass defense of the Washington Huskies secondary, and knew that he would turn into something special in the NFL.

Thankfully, NFL teams did not get that memo, which allowed the Rams to select him with their 69th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The topic resurfaced in the LA Rams press conference held during the 2022 NFL Draft on Day 1. At the 29:26 mark, a surprise guest arrived and posed a question to Les Snead about how the Rams used recorded 40 times to assess an NFL prospect. Both LA Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay made themselves available to the media before they were scheduled to step up to the podium on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kupp’s question was clearly done in jest, but the topic raises a great point. The fact is that relying upon data analytics is a mistake. There is an artform of knowing when to rely upon the raw analog and traditional scouting methodology, as well as when to lean more heavily into the raw measurables that are the bread and butter of data analytics. What do we mean? The Relative Athletic Score for Cooper Kupp reveals almost nothing to indicate that in five years, he would lead the NFL in the Triple Crown of receivers in 2021.

It is clear that this example points out the clear vulnerability of relying far too heavily upon athleticism to make roster decisions.

Think of it this way. RAS, or raw athleticism, is more of the measurements of track heats. Football is played in pads, which is an entirely different sport. Success in football is not about an athlete’s raw ability to best himself, but about his ability to best himself and his competition. Cooper Kupp may not be the fastest player on the field, but he is blessed with a high football IQ that allows him to be faster than the competition on any given Sunday.

Trending. Something tells me that the LA Rams drafted their starting RG…. light