During the NFL combine teams allowed to meet with 60 players over the course of the week for 15 minutes. Jim Wexell of Steel City Insiders reported via Twitter on Thursday that the Pittsburgh Steelers have already met with North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, who is considered by many to be the second ranked guard in the draft this year.
Cooper was a consensus All-America selection and Outland Trophy finalist in 2012. He is very coordinated and athletic, and thus a perfect pulling and zone-blocking scheme prospect. He measured in at the combine at 6021, 311 and has 33 inch arms.
“I\’ve been coaching 26 years now, and I\’ve not had an interior lineman with his athletic ability, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said about Cooper back in October. “So he\’s pretty special.”
The left guard had 47 starts in college and is as durable as they come. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has said several times that he is not opposed to drafting any position in any round, so Cooper certainly could be a candidate for the Steelers draft in round one, especially if they get an offer that they cant refuse to move down.
As I pointed out recently, guards normally don\’t get much respect in the top half of round one, so there is a chance that both Cooper and Alabama guard Chance Warmack could be on the board when the Steelers pick 17th overall.
Should the Steelers draft an offensive lineman in the first two rounds that would make five that the team has drafted that early in the last four drafts.
“I\’ve been coaching a long time,” said Fedora. “I\’ve coached some offensive linemen that have been drafted in the top five or six in the country and Jonathan has some skills at the offensive guard position unlike any others that I\’ve ever coached. He has tremendous feet. He has feet like a tight end, a very skilled tight end. There are quite a few tight ends out there that don\’t have the feet that Jonathan has. He\’s big and he\’s very intelligent and he understands what you\’re trying to do, and he\’s good at what he does.”