2016 NFL Draft: Round-by-Round Mock for 49ers
Round 3, Pick 68: Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
The 49ers haven’t had a true number-one receiver since Terrell Owens left town in 2003, and they have no proven playmakers on the current roster after Torrey Smith. Adding some talent to the receiving corps has been a pressing issue for years, and it’s about time they did something about it.
Peter Panacy has the 49ers taking Leonte Carroo with this pick, and that’s a great pick—one I strongly considered myself at this slot. Instead, though, I’ll be contrary and take South Carolina receiver Pharoh Cooper.
He’s shorter than you’d like at only 5’11”, but with great footwork and the ability to get into and out of his breaks quickly and efficiently, Cooper finds way to produce on passes all over the field. He’s very fast off the line, accelerating quickly. He’s incredibly versatile, as well—not only did he line up outside as a receiver, but he also was used as a runner quite often and even as a wildcat quarterback at times. Cooper is a jack-of-all-trades, and thinking how Chip Kelly could use him in his offense leads to excitement.
Cooper scored highly in Football Outsiders’ Playmaker Score as well, ranking higher than 89.5 percent of receivers drafted since 1996. His height and relatively limited route tree at South Carolina keeps him from being among the top receivers in this year’s class, but an offensive-minded coach with some creativity should be able to find plenty of uses for Cooper.
This would also be a great spot to add to the pass rush, but with Deion Jones and Noah Spence coming off the board in my mock just before the 49ers came onto the clock, adding a wide receiver became an easier choice.
Other players considered:
- Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
- Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State
- Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
Next: Round 4, Pick 105