Xavier Cooper   DT   Washington St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
Xavier is an underrated defensive lineman who is stout against the run and a disrupting pass rushing force. He is very strong and can handle the double team and still make a play. He does a good job of shedding blocks and making that tackle in the hole against the run. He has mature hand usage and has the size to get into passing lanes and knock passes down. When he comes off the line at the right pad level, he changes the line of scrimmage in his favor on almost every play even against double teams. Xavier gives excellent effort on every play and can play more than one position on the defensive line in any style of defensive front. He should become a fan favorite and a core player for your defensive line for the team that selects him.

CONCERNS
Xavier is a pass rushing disruptive force, but he lacks the change of direction skills to finish and make the sack. He also has a bad habit of taking teeny, tiny steps when being involved in stunts before he can get going forward and this will affect how much he can actually pressure a quarterback at the next level. Those excessive steps are Xavier’s way of compensating for balance and lack of change of direction agility, so expecting that to change is not likely to happen. It looks to me like Xavier would be more of a pass rushing force working as a DT in a 4-3 defensive or on pass rushing downs working as a nose tackle over the offensive center because he needs a direct line to the quarterback to be effective.

BOTTOM LINE
Xavier has the athletic talent to be an excellent player at the next level. At the combine, he registered a very high CPM score (88.11) and when you watch him on film, you can see that he plays to that score as well. When you see an offensive lineman reach down his hand to help a player up on the opposing team who just made a play against that offensive lineman, you know that sign of respect is the highest compliment that one player can give another during a game. I saw that happen when Washington State played Stanford. Xavier had just made a tackle by overpowering his opponent and making a play against the run. The offensive left guard who was trying to block away from filling the inside gap could not complete his assignment because of the effort and strength that Xavier showed. As Xavier lay on the ground after making the tackle, that offensive lineman gave Xavier a helping hand up. He did it with a disgusted look on his face (no doubt meant for himself) at his inability to control Xavier from making the tackle. Xavier should be a force to deal with at the next level and should be a disrupting force as a pass rusher. Paired with a speed rusher off the edge, Xavier is the type of defensive lineman who will force a quarterback from the pocket allowing his teammates to finish. Against the run he will be an asset, controlling gaps and allowing linebackers to fill and make plays also. Xavier is the type of player that becomes a core player for your dominating defense and the type of player that stats do not show his impact to a team. You have to watch the film to see it because there is no lack of effort for Xavier to be a disrupting force on the field on every down.

Drew Boylhart
APR/2015