Talented kick-returner Pharoh Cooper could solve a problem that’s been plaguing the Arizona Cardinals for quite a few years
The Arizona Cardinals found out this week that being the worst team in the NFL has it’s perks. Being in such a sorry state gives an organization first crack at players who’ve been placed on waivers. An ugly won-loss record has allowed the Cardinals to fill a position that’s been a weakness of the club for years.
Pharoh Cooper, a Pro Bowl kick-returner in 2017, was acquired after a division rival had given the 23-year old his walking papers. The Los Angeles Rams parted ways with the talented player earlier this week, and Arizona pounced. Why the Rams would give up on Cooper is a bit of a mystery.
The leaders of the NFC West were in need of a roster spot. Los Angeles had just signed running back C.J. Anderson as insurance for a gimpy Todd Gurley. When asked why Cooper was released, head coach Sean McVay replied that it was a “numbers thing”.
Some have speculated that the Cards may have signed Cooper for information about this Sunday’s opponent. It just so happens that the Redbirds will meet the Rams this weekend at State Farm Stadium. Did general manager Steve Keim acquire Cooper in order to gain a competitive advantage for the upcoming contest?
That reasoning seems highly unlikely. Besides the fact that the Cardinals could desperately use a return-specialist, winning would probably do the club more harm than good at this time. Losing the final two games of 2018 would assure Arizona of having the first-overall pick of the 2019 draft.
The addition of Cooper could pay huge dividends for the team. The 5’11, 208 pounder averaged 27.4 yards on kickoff returns, and 12.5 yards on punt returns last year. Those numbers allowed Cooper to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl in just his second professional season.
Kudos to the Cards for being proactive. The last few months have been a disaster, so it’s time to start looking ahead. Cooper could very well play a significant role with the franchise going forward.