Pharoh Cooper Proving Valuable Component in LA Rams Success - NBC Southern California
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Pharoh Cooper Proving Valuable Component in LA Rams Success

"He's been tremendous all year for us and has done a great job in the return game"

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    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (10) makes a catch as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    When anyone mentions the Los Angeles Rams, many think of Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Alec Ogletree, Sammy Watkins or head coach Sean McVay. However, another important name to remember is Pharoh Cooper, who had a solid season and made the 2018 Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

    Cooper caught eleven receptions for 84 yards this season.

    "He's been tremendous all year for us and has done a great job in the return game," Goff told reporters of Cooper after a dominant Seahawks win. "He's found a little niche for himself."

    The second-year receiver out of South Carolina entered the year without a defined role. But thanks to the meticulous efforts of McVay and the coaching staff, they - along with Cooper - realized his talents would best be served as a kickoff returner. He made the confession before the season that he wanted to be the best at his position and by Week 6, punt-return duties were a part of his assignment.

    Cooper, who also plays receiver, averaged 26 yards per kickoff return and 13.4 yards per punt return. He led the NFL in total kickoff-return yardage (845) and is second in punt-return yardage (390). The transformation from last season to the 2017 season has been phenomenal for Cooper. Throughout the hard work and dedication he has, he continues to excel by leaps and bounds on this team.

    "After the season last year, I found out a lot about myself," Cooper said. "I was hurt last year, then went through the injury, but I never lost faith, and I had confidence in myself. As the season kept growing, we started to break out some kick returns and my confidence got even higher."

    His hard worked paid off. Not only did his team achieve their first winning record since 2003, but he was also awarded with Pro Bowl honors along with teammates Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Johnny Hekker, and Greg Zuerlein.

    "It's really exciting and a dream come true," Cooper said about making the Pro Bowl. "When you're a little kid watching the NFL, and seeing all of the top guys making it. I give a lot of credit to the guys who were blocking for me as well as the coaching staff."

    With all the right pieces in place, the Rams have a great chance of standing alone at the mountaintop.

    If they win on Saturday night against the Atlanta Falcons at the LA Coliseum, this tight-knit bunch of players will have to band together on the road and have that 2Pac "Me Against The World" mentality in order to make it to Minnesota in February.

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