EWU Eagles

Kupp Selected By Rams In 3rd Round Of NFL Draft

SPOKANE, Wash. - Kupp was the seventh receiver taken in the draft, which saw three receivers get chosen among in the top nine picks in Thursday's first round.

"We congratulate Cooper Kupp," said Eastern head coach Aaron Best. "Everything he's accomplished he's earned, and he's earned the right to play in the NFL. His former staff and teammates, and all the Eastern fans out there, are rooting for him 100 percent. We're excited for him and know he has better things to come."

A four-time All-American and two-time FCS Player of the Year for the Eagles, Kupp became the second-highest choice in school history, ranking only behind former 10-year NFL veteran offensive lineman Michael Roos. Roos was the 41st pick overall in the 2005 draft overall when he was taken in the second round by Tennessee, where he spent his entire career.

Within his own family, he bested the fifth round of his father, Craig Kupp, who was drafted 135th overall by the New York Giants out of Pacific Lutheran University. Craig's father, Jake, played at Washington and was drafted in the ninth round (116th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1964 NFL Draft before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the New Orleans Saints.

The Kupp trio is the fifth three-generation NFL family, and only the third family to have three generations selected in the NFL Draft.

The Rams were 4-12 in 2016, finishing third in the NFC West. The Rams play at the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 17, after taking on Seattle Oct. 8 in L.A. The team's quarterback is former Cal standout Jared Goff, and among the other wide receivers on their roster are Tavon Austin, who caught 58 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns in 2016. The team's leading receiver from a year ago, Kenny Britt, is now with the Cleveland Browns.

Kupp was twice the Offensive MVP of the Big Sky Conference and earned first team All-BSC honors all four seasons as an Eagle. He the 2015 winner of the FCS Offensive Player of the Year by both STATS and the FCS Athletic Director's Association (he repeated as winner of that award in 2016), and he was also presented the 2015 Walter Payton Award as selected by Mickey Charles LLC. In 2016, he was runner-up for the Payton Award, now presented by STATS. He also earned Academic All-America honors three times, and won the Jerry Rice Award in 2013 presented to the top freshman in FCS.

He established 15 FCS, 11 Big Sky and 26 EWU records in his illustrious 52-game Eastern career, and added a collegiate all-division mark. With a pair of early catches in the first quarter against Richmond on Dec. 10, he surpassed the NAIA record of 6,177 by Chris George of Glenville State from 1991-94 after surpassing NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III records earlier in the 2016 season.

His 6,464 yards, 428 receptions, 73 touchdown catches, 124.3 average yards per game and 1.40 average TDs per game were all FCS records. Kupp averaged a TD reception for every 5.9 catches in his career. He scored at least once in 43 of 52 games he played, and caught at least two passes in every game he played. He had 30 performances of at least eight catches (16 with 10 or more) and a FCS record of 31 with at least 100 receiving yards. More importantly, Kupp led EWU to 41 victories overall in four seasons – 28-4 in the Big Sky Conference -- and five wins in the FCS Playoffs. Eastern advanced to the semifinals in 2016 and 2013, and the quarterfinals in 2014.

Two more former Eagles, Samson Ebukam and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne are also expected to be drafted or sign free agent contracts with NFL teams. Rounds 4-7 begin on April 29 at 9 a.m. ESPN, ESPN2 and the NFL Network will all provide coverage, and it will be streamed via NFL.com.

Kupp is the 17th player in school history to be drafted, dating back to Dick Nearants in the 18th round in 1959 by Green Bay. Besides Roos and Kupp, EWU's next-highest choices were fourth-round choices Taiwan Jones as a running back by Oakland in 2011 (125th overall) and safety Matt Johnson by Dallas in 2012 (135th overall). Eastern's top wide receiver drafted was Bob Picard in the sixth round by Philadelphia in 1973 (132nd overall) and EWU's last draftee was offensive tackle Jake Rodgers in the seventh round by Atlanta in 2015.

Kupp was joined by Bourne at the NFL Combine in February, and they reunited in Cheney on March 28 with Ebukam at EWU's Pro Day testing. A third All-America wide receiver, Shaq Hill, also participated in Pro Day testing, as well as linebacker Miquiyah Zamora and quarterback Jordan West.

Kupp ran a 4.56 time in the 40-yard dash to improve his time of 4.62 at the Combine. He also improved his 3-cone drill to 6.53, which would have been the top time at the Combine. He had the ninth-fastest at the Combine at 6.75 seconds, while his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.08 was the fifth-best.

Bourne also improved his 40 time from 4.68 at the Combine to 4.53 at Pro Day, and his vertical jump by two inches to 36. He even hit double-figures in the bench press, lifting 225 pounds 10 times.

At just shy of 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 240 pounds, Ebukam had impressive Pro Day numbers to go along with his imposing size. His vertical jump of 39 inches, broad jump of 10'10" and 40 time of 4.45 were eye-opening. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 24 times.