Samson Ebukam, the former Eastern Washington defensive lineman, was recently asked about former and current Los Angeles Rams teammate Cooper Kupp and his dominance in practice.
"He's still being Coop," Ebukam said. "He's still catching balls and making people look silly. I'm not surprised at all. That's just what he does."
This is no shocker to Samson. In fact, this is no shocker to everyone who watched Cooper Kupp at Roos Field for the past four years, but with the former Eags star having to prove himself once again, it means there are plenty of doubters that need to turn into believers. Obviously for Coop, his coaches know what he brings to the table, I mean, they drafted him after all, and he's been one of the standout guys in Los Angeles early on.
"Cooper was a guy that consistently showed up," first-year head coach Sean McVay said. "He got a lot of touches and I think it was predicated on the routes he was running. The quarterbacks did a good job finding him, so he got a lot of touches."
Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said, "The first thing you know about Cooper is he's a pro and you can see that. He came in here not like most rookie do. He's an extremely polished route-runner. Got great hands. Is a precise route-runner and you can tell he works at his craft each and every day. He does a great job."
The mentality is what sets Kupp a part from a lot of rookies coming into the league. Look, there's a handful of guys who get caught up in the, let's say, extra curricular activities of being a pro athlete. There's also a ton of guys who don't know what to expect and then there's the group who made it their dream to make the NFL and now what? This is something Cooper's dad, Craig, a former NFL quarterback, told me he struggled with during his career after getting drafted.
"For me I was going to be a pro football player, somehow, through my journey, it happened. Then I'm there and there's no vision in my mind about what I'm going to accomplish now," Craig, who was drafted by the New York Giants, said. "Cooper already has those things in his head about what he's going to accomplish and what he's going to strive to achieve at the next level and that's what it takes to be great."
Cooper wrote goals in high school for college. He wrote down more goals for the next level at Eastern Washington. He worked every day with this notion that football was a job to the point where Samson Ebukam would see him late night in the offices saying, 'Dude, don't you have homework to do?'
When Cooper sat down with KREM2 sports director Darnay Tripp in the fall, he gave us a glimpse at the way he thinks about the future.
"I want to set my goals laughably high," Kupp said. "If people aren't doubting you or saying you're ridiculous, then I don't think you're setting your goals high enough."
He's only been through a couple of days of rookie mini-camp...with the lowly Rams...with Jared Goff at quarterback. So, no one is putting him in the Hall of Fame quite yet, but, you better believe he's thinking about heading there.
Go ahead, laugh away.
Watch Cooper Kupp: An Unlikely Legend here: http://bit.ly/2g86zgk
Video courtesy to www.therams.com and USA Today Sports Images