Player: Michael Cooper
Overview: Back in June, on the eve of training camp, tight end was supposed to be a position the Steelers had locked down with few surprises. Fast forward to the last week of August and Ladarius Green is still out with an ankle injury, Matt Spaeth retired, and there appears to be room for an unknown rookie to make the team.
One of the players that is trying out is Michael Cooper, who played his college ball at Indiana. Cooper wasn't much of a receiving threat in college, hauling in 19 receptions for 230 yards and two touchdowns in his career. He was used primarily as a blocker on the best total offense in the Big 10, and despite his low reception totals he can display reliable hands. In an interview with NFLDraftBlitz.com Cooper said he likes to model his game off of Rob Gronkowski, as well as Heath Miller and Owen Daniels.
Unfortunately, Cooper is going to need a lot of work to get close to that level of play. Cooper was not targeted in the Steelers preseason game, but fellow tight end Xavier Grimble was. Grimble definitely has the inside track on any openings at tight end right now so the odds are pretty long that Cooper will make the Steelers roster. His best bet is to show what he can do as a blocker and hope another team will pick him up.
Willing blocker -relishes the contact
Blocks through the whistle
Experience in the H-back and Tight end spots
Ran typical NFL routes
Able to find the hole in zone coverage
Does not run crisp routes
Does not create separation in man coverage
Slow and displays limited agility on tape
Stands very straight on some blocks - needs to correct this is he wants to play against NFL level talent
Chances of Making the team: 10%