Bruce Arians: ‘Jonathan Cooper still has a way to go’
The Arizona Cardinals made Jonathan Cooper their first pick in the 2013 draft. Cooper was selected with the seventh overall pick that year, the first time since 1997 that an offensive guard had been taken in the first ten picks.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals and Cooper, the big man broke his leg in pre-season and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The injury was to set the Cardinals back a year in their quest to improve their offensive line, an area that has been neglected for too long.
The Cardinals added Jared Veldheer to the left tackle spot in free-agency. Veldheer is a franchise level left tackle who could hold the spot for several years while playing at an All Pro level. Cooper will fit into the left guard position.
According to Bruce Arians speaking to FOX Sports Arizona, Jonathan Cooper is still ‘some ways off‘ being ready.
“I really like where Jared is; Coop’s still got a ways to go,” coach Bruce Arians said on the final day of offseason workouts, per Fox Sports Arizona. “He’s not the athlete he was last year at this time but I wouldn’t expect him to be. It’s just a matter of getting his strength back and his confidence and his balance.”
The Cardinals have been ranked as one of the worst offensive lines of the last few years. They gave up an average of 50 sacks a season and at one point during the 2012 NFL season, were on pace to break the single-season sack record for sacks given up.
There’s a lot of pressure on Veldheer and Cooper to produce and protect Carson Palmer.