Hello Chiefs Kingdom! I’m Lucas Hampton and this is Beyond The Border Free Agency! This series is focused on free agents from beyond the borders of Chiefs Kingdom. Players from other teams and how they can don the red and gold and contribute to the team. The second in the series shifts from defense to offense as we take a look at Riley Cooper.
Yes, I know. I am doing an article on that guy. Yeah THAT guy. The one who was drunk at a concert and was caught using a racial slur on video. That’s not the focus of this article though as that event has been rehashed over and over again. Cooper has moved on and it’s time for us to put it in the past where it belongs. Anyway! Now we get to the good stuff! The Chiefs’ current setup at wide receiver consists of Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, and impending free agent Dexter McCluster as the top 3 receivers on the roster. Bowe got a hefty contract extension last offseason. In past seasons, Bowe had been the best receiver the team had, outside of Tony Gonzalez of course. This last season though, we saw a drop off on Bowe’s numbers. Perhaps its a new offense, maybe a new quarterback. Whatever the reason for his drop in production, at this point in time, Bowe is vastly overpaid. Donnie Avery was brought to the team this last offseason. Avery wasn’t the most reliable play-to-play option but he had some big catches and proved to be worth the price paid for him. Dexter McCluster was a 2nd round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft by Scott Pioli. McCluster’s rookie contract is up but he would be a welcome resigning. Certainly Kansas City has a better receiver corps than say the Indianapolis Colts without Reggie Wayne, among a few other teams, but the current group of wideouts leaves quite a bit to be desired. Certainly a fix can be found in the draft in the form of Sammy Watkins of Clemson or USC’s Marquise Lee, but let me point to Jon Baldwin as I say that drafting a receiver can be hit or miss. Some might take either of those just off their potential alone, but for me personally, I would rather have a proven commodity at a position of need. Thus I present to you: Riley Cooper.
Riley Cooper was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft to play in none other than Andy Reid’s offense. He measures 6′ 3″ tall and weighs in at 214 pounds. For those interested he played college ball at Florida with Tim Tebow (and Aaron Hernandez…). According to nfldraftscout.com, Cooper ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds. When he first joined the Eagles, there was already two established starters in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Over his four year NFL career, Cooper has proven to be resilient when it comes to injuries missing a total of 8 games in that time. Starting only 10 games in his first three seasons, Cooper got a huge opportunity this last season as Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL early on in the year. He stepped up in a huge way, starting 15 games and through the course of the season, nearly doubled all his career stats he had prior to the injury to Maclin. In his four seasons, Cooper has 93 receptions for 1514 yards and 13 total touchdown catches. His yards per catch average is an eyebrow raising 16.3 yards per catch (All stats are taken from profootbllreference.com). Cooper is gifted with good speed and reliable hands. The connections between Riley Cooper and Andy Reid make it a high possibility that he could become a Chief this offseason. If Cooper did come to Kansas City, it would be a smart signing by John Dorsey. Cooper most likely wouldn’t be all that expensive and he would provide a reliable possession receiver that could easily take the number 2 spot from Donnie Avery. At 26 years old, Cooper could provide a young yet experienced target for Alex Smith for several years. Who knows? Maybe Cooper can continue to get even better and maybe one day challenge Bowe for the number 1 spot in the receiver lineup. If Bowe keeps up his current level of play, and if Cooper keeps developing and improving, and given he will have a better quarterback in Kansas City (As good of a season as Nick Foles had, I will still take Alex Smith over him), Cooper just might be the number 1 guy one day. It’s a possibility to think about.
Could Riley Cooper be the guy from beyond the border to help get the team to the next level? That’s up to John Dorsey to decide and for us to wait until the offseason to find out. I’m Lucas Hampton, this is Beyond The Border Free Agency and as always, thank you for reading and….
UPDATE: Riley Cooper signed a 5 year contract with the Eagles on February 27th 2014