The best under-the-radar wide receiver gets his shot at the champs

Cooper Kupp

Cooper Kupp
Photo: Getty Images

LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has quietly become one of the more unstoppable pass-catchers in the NFL over the past couple of years. He’s already third in receiving yards this season with 271, and he’s tied for first in receptions with 16 through two games. Now Kupp is catching passes from a bona fide gunslinger in Matthew Stafford, so it would be shocking if Kupp doesn’t top 90 receptions for a third consecutive year.


Kupp isn’t blazing fast, either, clocking a 4.62 40-yard dash before being drafted by the Rams in round 3 of the 2017 draft. He just knows how to get open against defenders without being the fastest guy on the field. Often, the cornerbacks Kupp faces are going to be faster than him. Shiftiness and good route running are how Kupp beats defenders.

Head coach Sean McVay deserves a large portion of the credit for Kupp’s evolution into arguably the best slot receiver in the league. McVay keeps his offense fresh by giving defenses different looks and even outright stealing from other teams. McVay has often been referred to as an offensive guru, with Kupp continuing to reap the benefits.

The Rams play Tampa Bay on Sunday, so we’ll see how Kupp fares against the Bucs’ championship defense. Tampa has given up quite a few points (54) over the first two weeks of the season, but can get stops when needed. Kupp should have his opportunities against the Buccaneers since they’ve given up the third-most passing yards this season at 684.

Both the Rams and Bucs come in at 2-0, and even with the Rams’ potent defense, this game could become a shootout between Stafford and Tom Brady. If that happens, you’ll be hearing Kupp’s name called plenty of times in this game. It could just be a repeat of last season’s 27-24 victory over the Bucs, where Cooper had 11 receptions for 145 yards. Now that Kupp has Stafford throwing him the ball, maybe he’ll get in the end zone this time against Tampa. We could also be seeing a potential playoff matchup here, since many experts have these teams winning their respective divisions.

Kupp is making a name for himself and looks to be among the top wideouts around the league for years to come. Not being the fastest player hasn’t shown to be an obstacle for Kupp, yet most teams have struggled to slow him down. His size makes him such a mismatch inside at the slot position. At 6-foot-2 and around 200 pounds, Kupp is larger than your average slot receiver. Many slot receivers are under 6 feet tall and much quicker than Kupp. None of that has mattered, as Kupp is enjoying an outstanding start to his career. You might not think Kupp is a “true” No. 1 receiver, but if he keeps producing at this rate, no one will be able to deny him moving forward.

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