With 47 starts on his resume, Cooper is a proven commodity who passed up an opportunity to be an early-round selection a year ago to return for his senior season. In doing so, the UNC guard earned consensus All-American honors, was named the recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC's top offensive linemen and was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy.
After redshirting in 2008, he started 10 games as a redshirt freshman at left guard, earning Freshman All-American honors. Cooper made 13 starts as a sophomore in 2010 (12 at left guard and one at center) followed by 13 starts at left guard in 2011 as a junior.
NFL teams are generally loathe to spend first-round picks on guards, but with the steady Cooper an exception may have to be made. Cooper has excellent agility, demonstrating the ability to quickly get to the second level and block on the move. His terrific blocking helped Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard -- a legitimate high-round prospect himself - rush for an average of nearly 123 yards per game this season.
WEAKNESSES: Cooper lacks overpowering strength and can be pushed into the pocket by bigger, stronger defensive tackles when he allows his pad level to rise. Was prone to an occasional slipped block and/or needless penalty earlier in his career, though he showed much more consistency as a senior. Underwent shoulder surgery before his senior season, which will have to be checked out by team doctors.
COMPARES TO: Rodney Hudson, OC, Kansas City Chiefs -- Possessing the rare combination of balance, agility and durability that helped Hudson earn the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as a left guard back in 2010, Cooper ranks as one of 2013's safest prospects and a future Pro Bowl contender at whichever of the three interior line positions his future NFL team most needs help.