Steelers ‘Love’ Speedy Potential No. 1 LB in 2024 NFL Draft: Report

Edgerrin Cooper

Getty Bleacher Report's Ryan Fowler reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are in "love" with Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.

Most mock drafts early this offseason have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting an offensive lineman or cornerback in the first round of the NFL draft. But the Steelers targeting an inside linebacker isn’t out of the question. And Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler reported the Steelers “love” the consensus top linebacker in the class — Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper.

“Texas A&M LB Edgerrin Cooper met with all 32 teams at Shrine, however, one team stood out among the rest, per sources,” Fowler wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“The Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Mike Tomlin’s staff met multiple times with Cooper, and reportedly ‘love’ his game. Potential top LB in the class.”

Cooper posted 8 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 94 tackles for Texas A&M in 2023. He also had 2 pass defenses, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

The ESPN and Pro Football Focus draft experts have Cooper ranked the top inside linebacker in the 2024 class. Bleacher Report has Cooper ranked No. 2 at his position.

The BR NFL scouting department described Cooper’s speed as his “best asset.”

“He can fly.”

Steelers Expressing Interest in LB Edgerrin Cooper

It’s not a surprise that the Steelers like Cooper. Given his status as one of the top two inside linebackers in the upcoming class, any team would likely love to have the Texas A&M star.

But the Steelers aren’t hiding their affection for Cooper.

“I could tell they are really interested,” Cooper told Steelers Now at the Shrine Bowl. “For sure, I think they like my game a lot.”

The scouting report on Cooper could remind some Steelers fans of Ryan Shazier. The Steelers drafted Shazier, who was known for his speed, in the first-round of the 2014 NFL draft.

“That [Speed] helps [Cooper] in man coverage, as he can cover tight ends and running backs on deep routes,” the BR NFL staff wrote. “Combined with his impressive lateral movement skills, he rarely is out of phase when playing man. It also helped him rack up sacks as a spy since he can close on ball-carriers in a hurry.”

Cooper is also a physical linebacker and “not afraid to throw his body around” in run defense.

If there’s a negative with Cooper, it’s his size. He stands at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Bleacher Report’s draft profile on Cooper described him as having a “wiry frame.”

Where Could the Steelers Select Cooper in the 2024 NFL Draft?

The needs at offensive line or cornerback could be greater than Pittsburgh’s desire to find another sideline-to-sideline linebacker. However, it’s not like the Steelers couldn’t use more inside linebacker depth.

Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander both suffered season-ending injuries during 2023. Alexander is also a free agent this offseason.

But even though Cooper is considered one of the top linebackers in the 2024 class, he isn’t guaranteed to be a first-round pick.

ESPN has Cooper ranked as the No. 45 overall player in the 2024 class. PFF has him rated at No. 62, and Bleacher Report gave him a third-round grade.

“In a bad linebacker class, Cooper feels like the one guy who might go in the first round,” Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh wrote. “But would Pittsburgh spend the 20th overall pick on Cooper after his breakout season?

“That would be the question to answer in this scenario, no matter how interested they are in him. The value at tackle, for example, simply might be better than that of Cooper at 20th overall.”

The other question is whether Cooper could potentially be available at No. 51 overall when the Steelers make their second choice. Based on his current pre-draft rankings, that’s certainly possible.

A trade up the draft board in the second round could be on the table for the Steelers too.

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