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2024 NFL Draft

Draft Profile: Versatile LB Edgerrin Cooper Ready to Help Steelers Defend Lamar Jackson



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Edgerrin Cooper Texas A&M Shrine Bowl
Texas A&M Edgerrin Cooper

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pittsburgh Steelers brass started their combine interviews by hitting the top of the off-ball linebacker group hard, formally meeting with several of the top prospects in the class. One of the most interesting names at the top of that list is Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper. Although Cooper was unable to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl week, he acknowledged a developing connection with the organization.

When asked about his meeting with the Steelers head coach, Cooper said, “It was good, great conversation going on. He’s a great coach, just talking it up with them getting to know me and I’m getting to know them.” It’s safe to say that Cooper’s productive play on the field has left quite the first impression and those feelings are certainly reciprocated. When asked about Mike Tomlin at first glance, Cooper replied, “Great personality, goofy, silly and just like me.”

In the modern NFL, athleticism is paramount and Cooper sees his skill set and experience spying mobile quarterbacks in college as a building block for his future. “Just playing bigger, faster quarterbacks in the league like Lamar Jackson. I feel like I’d be a great quality to handle situations like that and having a linebacker that can do multiple things, you really can’t beat that.” Pittsburgh hasn’t seen much of Lamar Jackson over the years due to various circumstances but the two-time MVP figures to stand in their way for the AFC North crown for years to come.

Last season, the spine of the Steelers defense was decimated with injuries, with two of their top linebackers enduring season-ending injuries. Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts should both be back in the fold next season but adding more depth and talent to the room is worthy of serious consideration. Cooper’s combination of length, quick processing and functional athleticism offer the type of significant upside at the position that Pittsburgh has been searching for since Ryan Shazier’s unfortunate career-ending injury.

Throughout the week, each NFL team is allotted 45 formal meetings so these certainly carry weight when trying to sort out which players the organization has real interest in. In a relatively weak inside linebacker class, Cooper’s testing in Indy could vault him up to the top of the board at the position and further impress the coaching staff. Versatile linebackers are hard to come by and it’s easy to see why Pittsburgh is doing plenty of homework on Cooper throughout the process.


Measured at the 2024 NFL Combine: 6-foot-2 1/8, 230 pounds, 9 3/4-inch hands, 34-inch arms, and 80 1/4-inch wingspan.

During the on-field workout portion of the NFL Combine, Cooper displayed his athleticism as he posted a 4.51 second 40-yard dash which was faster than his college teammate and fellow draft prospect, safety Demani Richardson. Additionally, Cooper ran a 1.54-second split which tied Richardson’s time.

In his jumps, Cooper recorded a 34 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-foot-10 broad jump.


Cooper’s stock has risen since the end of his season, and he how now comfortably settled right around where the Steelers pick at No. 51 in the second round.

Edgerrin Cooper


A few of the traits that jump off his tape are his athletic profile paired with his versatility and it’s something that Cooper seems to take a lot of pride in. “Speed, just being able to react. Guarding fast tight ends and bringing pressure to the QB, all of those little things and being able to be used in all types of ways.” 2023 was a breakout season for Cooper, which led to his decision to leave College Station a year early. The Covington, Louisiana native racked up 56 stops and double-digit sacks, all while not allowing a single touchdown reception in pass coverage per PFF.

From an athleticism standpoint, Cooper is near the prototype for what defensive coordinators are prioritizing at the second level. He possesses the ability to cover a lot of ground on any given rep, with closing speed that pops off the film. When playing the run, Cooper’s instincts shine and he routinely keeps his shoulders square while reading cutback lanes well. As soon as he sees the play start to develop in front of him, he uses his twitch and short area burst to fly through gaps untouched on his way to the ball carrier. When faced with oncoming blockers, Cooper has long arms and is capable of squaring guys up and shedding on occasion.

While at Texas A&M, the Aggies put a lot of responsibility on his plate, weaponizing his skill set with ever-changing responsibilities depending on matchup. Cooper was asked to spy mobile quarterbacks in the SEC and was a disruptive pass rusher when tasked with those assignments. Not only is Cooper a good athlete, but he plays fast which are not always synonymous with prospects at this position. On screens and throws underneath to the flat, he will trigger instantly and blow up plays before they get fully set into motion. While he wasn’t asked to do it regularly, Cooper shows fluid movements when carrying receiving threats vertically, showing the ability to stay in phase throughout the rep.

In an otherwise unimpressive linebacker class, Cooper stands near the top. In order for him to reach his full potential, he’ll need to continue to round out his game. At this point in time, his coverage feel is a bit of a projection considering how he was used in college. Given his long limbs, you’d like to see him use them more efficiently, particularly when it comes to engaging more quickly instead of allowing blockers to get hands on first. Due to his downhill mentality, he can be a bit reckless and out of control when it comes to playing the run. Lastly, Cooper could take his pass rushing prowess to another level if he added a go-to move rather than just winning off pure athleticism.

The Steelers have some returning starters in Holcomb and Roberts, but they were joined in a three-man rotation by Kwon Alexander in 2023, before injuries ripped the whole thing apart. Cooper would replace Alexander is that alignment, providing a jolt of youth and athleticism to an already solid, if older unit. When it comes to this years crop of backers, there’s not anyone worth a first-round investment. However, Cooper’s skill set is intriguing enough to put him into round two consideration if the board falls a certain way.