49ers Cooper

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers claimed former Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper off waivers. Cooper — who will likely play defensive tackle with his new team — should play an important role for the Niners in 2017.

The San Francisco 49ers — holding the NFL’s second highest waiver priority — surprisingly claimed only one player on Sunday, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper.

In 2015, the Cleveland Browns moved up to select Cooper in the third round of the NFL Draft. Cooper measured in at 6-foot-3 and 293 pounds at the 2015 NFL Combine.

Although listed as a defensive end with the Browns, Cooper will likely start the season as the backup for 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. The move makes sense for the 49ers, who were light at potential 3-technique defensive tackles, due to injuries to Chris Jones and Ronald Blair, and the Saturday release of Quinton Dial.

Cooper played in 27 games over two years with the Browns, but had trouble finding his way into the starting lineup, before he was released by the team on Friday.

Look for Cooper to play a similar backup role with the 49ers, as he rotates in with the starters on the defensive line.

When reviewing his game film, it’s easy to see the potential the Browns saw in Cooper when they drafted him with the second-day pick. Cooper has quick burst off the line and hustles to make plays. However, his lack of arm length (31.5 inches) is apparent against larger linemen.

Here’s a look at Cooper’s stats with the Browns:

Xavier Cooper
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Sk Tkl Ast Sfty AV
2015 24 CLE 96 14 0 1.5 11 8 1
2016 25 CLE de 96 13 2 11 9 2
Career 27 2 1.5 22 17 3


And here are some of Cooper’s highlights with his former team:

About the Author: Chris Wilson

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