If the goal when selecting in the top 10 of the NFL Draft is to find an impact player, that’s one thing.
If the goal when selecting in the top 10 of the NFL Draft is to find an impact player who will make said impact as a rookie, well, that’s a completely different issue.
At any rate, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., in an ESPN Insider piece titled ‘Early impact from Round 1,’ the Arizona Cardinals did exactly that with first-round pick Jonathan Cooper.
If we did a poll of evaluators and asked, “Which rookie is most likely to make the Pro Bowl?” I think Cooper would get a lot of votes. He has an NFL-ready skill set, is versatile and could be a very good NFL player at either guard or center, and he’s going to start immediately. He’ll have an impact.
Cooper is expected to start for the Cardinals, probably at right guard, and if all goes according to plan will man that position for at least the next decade.
But for now, at least, it appears the team may have found itself someone who is ready to play — and play well — as a rookie.