Cleveland Browns: Ethan Cooper can be a steal in the NFL Draft

The Cleveland Browns need offensive line depth. Little known offensive lineman Ethan Cooper form IUP could provide that depth.

Can the Cleveland Browns find interior offensive line help from a small school? Little known NFL Combine invitee Ethan Cooper of Indiana University of Pennsylvania may be just the guy to add depth to the Browns offensive line.

In the free agency period, the Browns have spent a large amount of money shoring up the offensive line. They have added free agents J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler. However, there is still a need at right tackle.

The options at right tackle include Cameron Erving and Shon Coleman. Whoever loses the right tackle competition will most likely stay on as the swing tackle. But more depth at that position is needed long-term.

One player the Browns could look to for depth as a developmental project is Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Ethan Cooper.

Ethan Cooper is 6-foot-3, weighing 325 pounds, which puts him in the ideal zone for an NFL offensive lineman. At IUP, he dominated the competition as a NFL prospect from a small school should. Cooper played both guard and tackle in college. That diversity should help him stick at in the NFL.

Cooper was invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he played solid. In an interview with Dawg Pound Daily, Josh Buchanan, college recruiter for the Collegiate Bowl, described Cooper as, “Raw, but has tools. Strong and mean. Put a lot of people to the ground. He is a big, strong, heavy puncher who moves defenders and is a road-grader type.” That sounds a lot like exactly what the Browns are looking for in an offensive lineman.

When asked about his road-grader mentality, Ethan Cooper, in an interview with DPD, stated, “When I get on the field, I refuse to be beat. When someone lines up across from me, I am going to make them regret that decision. I am going to come back play after play to punch them in the mouth until they quit.”

His game film shows a player who is dominant in the run game. His strength is evident on tape and verified by his 26 reps on the bench press at the combine. He shows explosiveness with his punch. He gets movement off the ball and has enough athleticism to get to the second level. He fits the mold of a right tackle or right guard road-grader at the NFL level.

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He does show some need for improvement in leverage in the NFL. This is usually described as having “high pad level”. Realistically, all linemen entering the NFL are projects of some sort. When drafting an offensive lineman, the goal is to find linemen that can be taught to use their natural abilities. Cooper has the natural abilities but he will need to be taught how to use better leverage at the NFL level.

His pass protection is difficult to gauge for the NFL level. The offense at IUP was a spread-style offense that did not require NFL-style drops from its quarterbacks. Thus, it did not require NFL-style pass protection from its offensive linemen.

However, if his combine performance is any indicator, basic techniques should not be a problem at the NFL level. In the midst of all the NFL prospects at the combine, Ethan Cooper quickly began to stand out for his techniques during the drills. Like all linemen, he will need to be taught the advanced game of the NFL on the job.

Unfortunately, NFL rules prevent me from posting video of Cooper’s performance at the Combine.

When asked about Cooper’s off-the-field persona, Buchanan stated, “Cooper is a great character and unselfish. He was willing to change positions for the good of the team.” With no character issues and a team-first mentality, Cooper checks all the boxes the Browns seem to look for in players.

For the Browns, Cooper could be picked up on day three. “He [Cooper] has had a good postseason and has a shot to go in the 6-7 range or will be a highly sought after PFA, who I expect to make it,” Buchanan commented about his projected draft status. He added, “If he keeps his weight down, I think he plays 5-10 years. He is a tough player and fun to watch.”

Cooper could become a project for the Browns as an interior swing man or swing tackle in the future. He fits the mold of a right tackle or guard in the NFL. More importantly, he fits the mold of the new look Cleveland Browns.

When asked about playing in Cleveland, Ethan Cooper stated, “I would be excited to be in Cleveland and play in front of the Dawg Pound!”