As part of theRams.com's coverage leading into this year's NFL Draft, we will be taking a look at each of the Top 100 picks of the Sean McVay era in Los Angeles. The series continues with a look at wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Before joining the Rams
Playing at FCS program Eastern Washington didn't put Cooper Kupp at a disadvantage. In fact, he had multiple games on national television against Pac-12 opponents and capitalized in big ways.
Take his first college game in 2013, for example, when as a redshirt freshman he finished with five receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-46 upset win over No. 25 Oregon State in Eastern Washington's season-opener. Two years later, he set new Autzen Stadium records with 15 catches for 246 yards against No. 7 Oregon, hauling in three touchdown grabs too.
All told, he had 40 receptions for 716 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games against Pac-12 opponents, with Eastern Washington posting a 2-2 record in those contests.
Kupp earned consensus FCS All-American honors in each of his four seasons and was named the FCS Offensive Player of the Year following his redshirt senior year in 2016. The four-year starter accumulated 6,464 yards, 428 receptions, 73 touchdown catches, 124.3 average yards per game and 1.40 average TDs per game – all FCS records. Collectively, he established 15 FCS, 11 Big Sky and 26 EWU records in 52 games at EWU.
That decorated resume landed him an invitation to the 2017 Reese's Senior Bowl, where, alongside future Rams teammate and tight end Gerald Everett, he was identified as one of seven players making a push into the first round of that year's NFL Draft.
Although the prediction did not come to fruition, it likely did help state his case as one of then-NFL Network draft analyst Mike Myaock's Top 100 players in the draft. That distinction held up, too, as Kupp was chosen 69th overall in the third round by the Rams.
Having pro lineage didn't hurt, either, with his father and grandfather both being former NFL players.
Much like the start of his college career, Kupp began his NFL career in an impactful way with four catches for 76 yards and one touchdown in a 46-9 Rams win over the Colts in Week 1 of the 2017 season. His 62 catches that year set the franchise single-season rookie record, while his 869 receiving yards were second to Eddie Kennison's rookie record of 924 in 1996.
Though a torn ACL prematurely ended his second NFL season, he bounced back with the first 1,000-yard season of his career in 2019. Kupp's 94 receptions, 1,164 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns were all team-highs.