WR Cooper: Special Teams The Key

Riley Cooper knows the way for a late round draft pick to make an NFL roster.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Categories: 2010 NFL Combine, Mike Duffy

At 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, Florida’s Riley Cooper has the size that NFL teams covet.

He also produced while in college, especially last year as Tim Tebow’s security blanket.

But Cooper believes his road to the big leagues is the same as so many late-round receivers who have come before him. His goes through special teams.

“I started on kickoff my freshman and sophomore year, and I loved it,” Cooper said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I was a gunner and a guy who made most of the tackles. This year, I was on kick return and was the lead blocker. I feel like I can definitely help a team out, maybe not returning it, but with some other things.”

After toiling as mainly a special teamer, Cooper came onto the scene last year when he earned second-team All-SEC honors after leading the Gators with 51 catches for 961 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

He even caught seven passes for 151 yards and a score against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl as a career walk-off.

Still, Cooper hopes his physicality will get him to the next level.

“Most everyone I’ve talked to has liked that about me,” he said.  ”That’s one of my strengths and something that I do best. I don’t mind it at all.”

The Ravens have always found uses for physical edge players that can play gunner. One only has to look at last year’s signing of David Tyree or drafting Marcus Smith in 2008 as examples of that.

Even though Cooper is likely headed for a third-day slot, he is just one of many prospects at his position looking to make a special impression.

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