3rd round (#67) – WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington (6’2 | 205 | 4.62)
Ridiculously productive FCS receiver with over 100 catches for three seasons in a row (428 career receptions), 6,464 receiving yards, and 81 total touchdowns (73 receiving, 4 passing, 3 punt return, 1 rushing). Kupp is also the first player in FCS history to be named a four-time All-American.
He is a well-rounded receiver who has experience both inside and outside, is an excellent blocker, an elite route-runner, fights for yards after the catch with a powerful stiff-arm, and has sticky hands. There isn’t much not to like about Kupp, who has dominated against whoever he’s played against for four years.
Granted the competition level in the FCS is nowhere near the NFL, but Kupp was just as good when he got the chance to play against top FBS teams. Against Washington St this season he caught 12 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns, at Oregon in 2015 he caught 15 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, and at Washington in 2014 Kupp caught eight passes for 145 yards and again three touchdowns.
Kupp only got one game per year against top FBS competition but in each one he dominated. It was no different in Senior Bowl practices this year, as Kupp got open and caught passes no matter which of the draft’s top corners was lined up across from him. He’s proven that his route running skills are good enough to get open against any college corner.
There are some legitimate concern with the transition from the FCS to the NFL, but recent small school players like RB David Johnson, QB Carson Wentz, DT Javon Hargrave, OLB Noah Spence, and T Joe Haeg have proven that FCS rookies can win starting jobs in the NFL.
It’s hard to find any weaknesses in Kupp’s game tape. The consensus among draft sites is that Kupp is a little stiff out of his breaks, doesn’t have enough speed to separate on straight routes, and won’t make people miss in the open field. Kupp’s 4.62 40-time at the combine may hurt his draft stock enough that he slips out of the second round (where he’s currently projected) and is available for the Bears at the top of the third round.
The Bears have a ton of uncertainty at the receiver position and a guy like Kupp, who can step in and play whatever role is needed, has a ton of value. He is best suited as a big slot receiver, but has the size and talent to play outside if either Kevin White or Cam Meredith doesn’t produce as expected. A top-three receiver group of Kevin White, Cameron Meredith, and Kupp has a lot of size, versatility, and big play potential.