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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cole Topham

Chargers 2023 NFL draft target: Maryland WR Jacob Copeland

Over the next couple of months, we are going to be taking a look at a handful of draft prospects leading up to the 2023 NFL draft.

With the Chargers having needs at various positions, we will do our best to evaluate the players that we feel fit the team precisely.

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Here is a report on a potential target, Maryland wide receiver Jacob Copeland.

Height: 6-0

Weight: 202 pounds

Class: Fifth-year senior

Hometown: Pensacola, FL

Career: Transferred to Maryland after four seasons at Florida. Former four-star wideout and No. 14 rated player in the state of Florida. Collected 112 catches, 1,742 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns in 40 career games. 

Strengths: Thick, physical football player who isn’t afraid to use his big pads offensively. Experience at all three receiver spots. Dodges press contact with firm arm wipes and subtle dodges. Has demonstrated knowledge of the right releases to use when he predicts the cornerback’s strategy. Sells the vertical route well off the line. Straight-line speed can get behind the secondary quickly. Change of direction skills are impressive for his build. Showcases good positioning working back to the football. Quick transition from catch to ball carrier. Keeps feet moving when hit. Makes tackling a chore for single defenders, usually requiring an assist to bring him down. 

Weaknesses: Lacks the countermeasures to ensnare himself from downfield contact. Difficult to get going in short spaces. YAC production is slim and one-dimensional. Would rather lower his head into contact than try to avoid it. Inconsistent attacking the ball on deep throws.

Final Word: A consistent starter at Florida who fought for targets in a stacked Maryland receiving corps, Jacob Copeland is an intriguing mixture of size and speed whose explosive plays suggest qualities of a dynamic flanker receiver. He already has the body of an NFL wideout, and there are raw traits that can be refined. Copeland is best when he can win the route at the line, but he has a ways to go in creating regular separation when he’s hip-to-hip. 

Fit Likelihood: Medium

Grade: 6-7th round

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