Updated Apr 26, 2013 - 3:14 pm
Jonathan Cooper: Phone call from Cardinals ‘meant the world to me'
He decided to stay.
"I told my parents I'd get my degree, and I ended up doing that," Cooper said moments after the Cardinals drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL Draft Thursday.
"It worked out for the best as it possibly could," he continued. "I feel like I improved so much my senior season, just technically and physically. So I feel like it really paid dividends. Who knows? I could have possibly been top 15, but I stayed and now I'm number seven."
Cooper was the fourth offensive lineman drafted, and one of six taken in the first 11 picks.
"I'm really excited to have such an offensive line-heavy draft," he said.
He's the first offensive lineman the Cardinals have drafted in the first round since Levi Brown in 2007.
"It was kind of hard," Cooper said while describing the phone call from the Cardinals, "because all my family was crying, so I had to look off into space so I could really concentrate and not start crying. It meant the world to me to have that phone call."
Cooper started 48 games for the Tar Heels at left guard (though head coach Bruce Arians said he could play either guard position).
His senior year, Cooper was a consensus First-Team All-American selection and one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded annually to the best interior lineman.
At 6-2, 311-pounds, Cooper said he's "naturally a pass blocker." He said he spent some time recently in Arizona working out at Athletes' Performance in Tempe.
"I feel like I can get a little more powerful and just really get more movement in my run game, kind of unlock those hips and roll off on guys," he said. "That's what I wanted to improve on."
There is one problem, however: Cooper's new boss is an NC State alum.
"(Keim) made sure he let me know that on the phone call when he was telling me that I was drafted. He said ‘I'm going to pick you in spite of you being a Tar Heel,' so I was grateful."
Craig Grialou, Reporter
- Cardinals get high praise for pick
- Keim: Cooper one of 'cleanest' players in draft
- Breaking down G Jonathan Cooper
- Franz: Why not take a Chance?
- Burns: Quick thoughts on Cooper
- Wolf: Cooper reveals offense
- Cooper: Phone call 'meant the world to me'
- Jonathan Cooper - Draft Profile
- Green: Cardinals played it safe
- Cardinals select G Jonathan Cooper
- Twitter reaction to Cardinals' selection
- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote says defense is good enough to overcome Darnell Dockett injury
- Notes from the Nest: Aug. 22, 2014
- Arizona Cardinals' DE Calais Campbell: Dockett injury 'sucks,' others need to step up
- A game-time decision, Jonathan Cooper going through learning experience with Arizona Cardinals
- Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington bulks up in anticipation of harder hits this season
- Peter King, SI.com senior NFL writer - Friday August 22Peter King thinks Carson Palmer could have a big year for the Cardinals.
- Michael Floyd, Cardinals wide receiver - Friday August 22Michael Floyd says he thinks he can be the best wide receiver in the NFL.
- Jared Veldheer, Cardinals tackle - Friday August 22Jared Veldheer talks about his road from a Division II college to the NFL.
- Bob McManaman- Arizona Republic senior sportswriter - Friday August 22Bob McManaman believes that Jay Feely is in danger of getting cut from the Cardinals.
- Andre Ellington- Cardinals running back - Friday August 22Andre Ellington looks forward to a break out year with the Arizona Cardinals.