Green Bay Packers

Edgerrin Cooper's Physical Proficiency Should Make Him Green Bay's Will Linebacker

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers selected Edgerrin Cooper from Texas A&M with the 45th-overall pick, their first of two selections in the second round.

In the current Packers lineup, the off-ball linebacker room consists of Quay Walker, Cooper, Isaiah McDuffie, Eric Wilson, Ty’Ron Hopper, Kristian Welch, and Christian Young. Among them, only Walker has double-digit starts at the pro level. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to anticipate Cooper emerging as a frontrunner in the competition, potentially securing the starting role as an outside linebacker.

Green Bay is expected to primarily deploy a 4-2-5 defense, with Walker and Cooper likely serving as the starting linebackers. However, in situations where the Packers switch to a traditional 4-3 formation, Cooper could excel as the Will linebacker.

A Will linebacker typically aligns on the backside of defensive formations. Their primary responsibility is to prevent the rushing attack from exploiting gaps on the weak side of the defense. Will linebackers are often characterized by their athleticism, possessing speed, coverage skills, and strong tackling abilities.

According to Pro Football Focus, Cooper had an elite 90.8 coverage grade at Texas A&M last year. He also had an 87.6 run defense grade and 73.7 for tackling. Cooper earned an 86.4 in pass rush and 85.5 in coverage.

Last season, Cooper tallied 75 total tackles, 56 stops, and forced two fumbles. His pass-rushing performance was particularly notable, with 10 sacks, five hits on the quarterback, and 12 hurries.

If Cooper is a Will linebacker in Green Bay’s defense, Walker will likely take on the responsibilities of the Mike position in the defense. As Walker enters his third year, his starting experience will provide valuable insight and leadership on the field. Moreover, he has established chemistry with his teammates and has two seasons of experience in coverages and defensive adjustments.

With Walker assuming the more cerebral role within the linebacker room, Green Bay can afford to deploy Cooper in a more physical and intuitive capacity. While it’s crucial for every player to think and make decisions quickly, overthinking could hinder Cooper’s ability to react instinctively and adjust effectively to the NFL’s demands. By simplifying Cooper’s responsibilities and allowing him to rely on his natural athleticism and instincts, the Packers can optimize his performance and maximize his impact on the field.

Adding Cooper to Green Bay’s defense could fill a physicality gap that has been evident for some time. When was the last time we saw a Packers defender making a tackle that drove the ball carrier five yards backward? Cooper’s playstyle injects a much-needed aggressiveness into the defense. He’s not just a great hitter and effective blitzer; he also brings a killer mentality that has been lacking within the organization.

It will be intriguing to witness how Jeff Hafley utilizes Cooper’s versatile skill set within the Packers’ defense. Cooper’s ability to rush the passer, provide coverage, and execute blitzes offers Hafley various options for deployment.

Additionally, with Anthony Campanile assuming the role of linebackers’ coach in Green Bay, there’s optimism surrounding Cooper’s development. Campanile’s track record, notably his success in coaching Jerome Baker in Miami, where Baker achieved a commendable 78.0 defensive grade in 2022, suggests that he has the expertise to mold Cooper into a reliable starter within the Packers’ defense.

Cooper’s proficiency in the physical aspects is crucial for the Will linebacker position, which positions him for success. However, it’s vital to acknowledge that growth in football is ongoing. Restricting himself to one position might hinder his overall development. Therefore, broadening his skillset to excel in different linebacker roles, such as the Mike position, presents opportunities for advancement and versatility.

Green Bay Packers
What Would Jordan Love Have to Do to Win MVP?
By Felipe Reis - May 21, 2024
Green Bay Packers
Should the Packers Give Kenny Clark Top-5 Defensive Tackle Money?
By Felipe Reis - May 20, 2024
Green Bay Packers

Center Is Still Josh Myers' Job To Lose

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur loves to talk about getting his best five offensive linemen on the field. Coupled with Green Bay’s skill at drafting […]

Continue Reading