Cooper Kupp NFL Draft diary: It’s good to be home

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Cooper Kupp played wide receiver at Eastern Washington, where he set 15 FCS, 11 Big Sky and 26 school records during his career. The FCS’ all-time leader in receiving yards, receptions, touchdown catches and yards per game, Kupp was a consensus All-American in each of his four seasons and is projected to be an early-round pick in April’s draft. This is the fifth draft diary entry for Kupp, who is documenting his NFL draft experience at FOXSports.com.

After three months of intense training at the REP 1 facility in Southern California, my wife, Anna, and I have returned home to Washington to continue my draft prep in the Pacific Northwest, and it sure has been nice being back in our comfort zone, near friends and family — even if it’s meant living out of a suitcase in a hotel for most of the past two weeks.

We arrived in Cheney on March 24, a few days ahead of Pro Day at Eastern Washington last Tuesday, and my primary goal, up until I took the field along with five of my old teammates, was to improve on the times I’d posted at the NFL Combine a few weeks earlier.

Particularly, I looked forward to running my shuttles and my 40 because this time around I was able to focus more on relaxing and enjoying the process. In Indianapolis, you go into your drills exhausted after four days of early wake-up calls, testing and interviews, but it’s a totally different atmosphere at Pro Day, and I felt like I was able to run closer to the way I’d normally run as a result.

 

In the end, I got my 40 time down to the mid 4.5-second range, and I was thrilled to cut my L-drill time down to 6.51 seconds. I even shaved a little time off the 5-10-5 drill, as well. For practical purposes, none of those results is going to change who I am going to be on the field, and to be brutally honest, no one really gets “faster” over the course of two or three weeks. But even the smallest tweak to your technique can make a real difference in your times, and I think my showing on the Inferno was proof of that.

That being said, I’m also glad to finally be past the track drills so I can focus full-time on playing football once again. And since Pro Day, my workouts have been almost exclusively football-oriented, catching passes from Jordan West, working on footwork and getting my conditioning back where it needs to be so I can run all day, at full speed, without getting tired — just like I always have.

Because once the draft is over, it’ll be time to get to work. And I want to make sure I’m as ready as I can possibly be when my number is called.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

I also had two private workouts with teams before I left Cheney for my hometown of Yakima and I felt they went very well. And while players usually try not to read too much into a given team making a special point to pay a visit to take a closer look, it’s still exciting, and it feels good to know that certain organizations are definitely interested.

Still, I’ve heard stories of teams that drafted a player without ever meeting him, at the Senior Bowl, the Combine or in a 1-on-1 setting. I even heard one stat that 20 percent of the time you’re selected by a team that picks you based on your film and reputation alone. Sometimes that’s all coaches and GMs need, and in this business, teams tend to play their cards pretty close to the vest.

All I know is that I’ll be happy wherever I end up, and as tempting as it may be to try, I won’t be looking to figure it out before April 27.

Chapter 1: A whirlwind week at the Senior Bowl

Chapter 2: Training with the NFL’s best

Chapter 3: Primed for the Combine

Chapter 4: Looking back on my week in Indy

You can follow Cooper on Twitter at @CooperKupp.