Fantasy Impact: Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack Make History
It has been thirteen years since two guards have been selected within the top seventeen picks of the NFL draft. During the 2001 NFL draft, University of Texas guard, Leonard Davis was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the second-overall selection and fifteen selections later the Seattle Seahawks elected Michigan guard, Steve Hutchinson to help shore up an offensive line in desperate need of assistance. Fast forward to 2013 where history stood to repeat and the echo of antiquity is exactly what transpired on Thursday night once again involving the Arizona Cardinals. With a bit of a twist both Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack became the first two offensive guards taken in the top ten since the onset of the Super Bowl era.
Of the two top rated offensive guards, the Tennessee Titans nailed down Chance Warmack with the 10th-overall selection and the Arizona Cardnials acquired the more athletic Jonathan Cooper three selections earlier with the seventh-overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft. While the University of North Carolina’s Cooper is considered the more athletic of the two top rated guards Alabama’s Chance Warmack brings strength and physical dominance to a position of need for the Titans. Besides the immediate upgrade to the interior of the offensive line Warmack brings to the table, beside the standard eating utensils, an appetite for consistency allowing a meager 3.5 sacks in 287 passing attempts throughout the 2012 college football season.
Not only did Warmack lead an offensive line, consisting of Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker, with 37 pancake blocks he also displayed both durability and reliability posting 39 career starts dating back to his freshman season at Alabama. The tough, football savvy and road-grading interior lineman finished his collegiate career with a 99% performance rating missing a mere seven assignments in 728 snaps over the course of 2012.
It’s no surprise that Tennessee selected Warmack 10th overall as a interior line help is a major need for the Titans. At Alabama’s pro day the Titans had several key personel in attendance to watch the big guy participate in positional drills. This year’s top rated guard looks to provide a foundation inside for a team that allowed 39 sacks last year for 12th-worst in the NFL while managing the leagues 21st overall rushing offense. The Tennessee Titans will will immediately improve, a rush game that ranked 21st overall in the league, with the addition of Chance Warmack. Great news for Chris Johnson, for certain.
As for Chance Warmack’s offensive line cohort and NFL draft offensive guard rival, from the University of North Carolina, Jonathan Cooper the Arizona Cardinals will have the option to plug-n-play the massive guard who’s versatility and athleticism will likely help to improve upon a run game that descended to 32nd in the NFL during 2012. Cooper likely cemented his top seven selection status with an phenomenal performance at the NFL combine and during positional drills at North Carolina’s pro day where he displayed superb footwork and agility.
Jonathan Cooper displays the type of footwork needed to play blindside tackle not to mention amassing double digit knock down blocks in 9 of 12 games in 2012. The 311 lbs. interior chess piece is largely responsible for a North Carolina rush game average of 193.8 yards, which consequently enough was the team’s highest per game mean in almost 20 years. Referring to Cooper as an interior chess piece and the associated action is exactly what teams will look toward the 2012 AP All-American First Team guard to provide. The opportunity to stalemate the defensive opposition and thwart defensive stalwarts into submission should help a stagnant Cardinals rushing offense that careened at the bottom of NFL team rushing totals in 2012. Despite having average arm length for a guard Cooper’s size, athletic ability and strength more than make-up for the short coming. Grading out just over 90%, on the season at the college level, will likely keep Jonathan Cooper a mainstay within the Arizona offensive line for the next several years. With few places to go other than up when it comes to the Arizona rushing game Jonathan Cooper will likely be a key reason for that rise.