Arizona Cardinals: Ranking first round picks since 2010
5. Jonathan Cooper, Guard, 2013
Unfortunately for Jonathan Cooper, he was never able to get his NFL career with the Cardinals started on the right track. In just his third preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Cooper broke his left fibula and missed his rookie season.
Cooper returned in 2014 fully healthy and it seemed he was ready to put his first year behind him and contribute. He played in 10 games his sophomore season, starting 2 of them. With an entire NFL season under his belt, many expected Cooper to bring it all together in year three and justify his first round draft status.
In 2015, the former first team All-ACC selection started the first 9 games of the season at right guard, before being sidelined with a knee injury. Cooper returned two games later but lost his starting spot to former sixth round pick Ted Larsen that same week. Head coach Bruce Arians’ reason for benching Cooper was that Larsen was “playing better.”
A combination of mental hurdles and physical injuries stunted the first stage of Cooper’s NFL career. After just 3 seasons as a Cardinal, he was traded along with a second round pick in March to the New England Patriots for linebacker Chandler Jones.