COLUMBIA — Jared Goff to Pharoh Cooper? It’s certainly a possibility now for the Los Angeles Rams.
The South Carolina wide receiver went to the Rams with the 117th overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. He joins a team that made Goff, a quarterback from Cal, the No. 1 overall selection on Thursday.
Later Saturday, former Gamecocks offensive tackle Brandon Shell of Goose Creek was taken by the New York Jets in the fifth round with the 158th overall selection, and USC tight end Jerell Adams went to the New York Giants in the sixth round with the 184th overall pick.
The 5-11, 207-pound Cooper, an All-SEC selection in each of the past two seasons, led the Gamecocks last year with 66 receptions for 973 yards and eight touchdowns. The junior from Havelock, N.C., completed his three-year career with 2,163 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns.
“God has a plan, and this is where I was supposed to be,” Cooper said on a media conference call. “I’m excited to be part of the Rams organization.”
Cooper was a versatile player at South Carolina who originally came to campus as a defensive back. He rushed for four touchdowns in his USC career, passed for four more, and was also used as a punt returner.
Originally projected to go as high as the second round, Cooper instead was the 12th receiver taken. While he likely fell because his height and 40-time weren’t among the best in the receiver class, Goff clearly liked the pick. Michael Silver of NFL Network reported the quarterback responded “Yes!” when notified via text that the Rams had taken Cooper in the fourth round.
“It’s going to be great,” Cooper said. “Just to go in there and work with the No. 1 quarterback drafted overall, it’s going to be great to start throwing with him and building chemistry with him when I get there.”
The Jets traded up one spot to get Shell, the 6-6, 328-pound great nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Art Shell. He made 48 starts over his four years at USC, 47 of them consecutively. Shell played right tackle for three years before moving to the left side as a senior, and has also been forecast by some scouts as a guard.
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he liked Shell so much, he nearly took him in the fourth round. “We thought the player has a lot of ability and potential. We thought from a value standpoint, where we took him was very good,” he told reporters at team headquarters in Florham Park, N.J.
“These are all college kids so there’s always uncertainty, but we felt potentially he had the chance to be a starting-type player. There are not many of those left on our board, so ... we felt good about taking a chance on him going forward.”
Adams, a 6-6, 231-pound Pinewood native, finished his senior campaign at USC with 28 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Initially projected as a potential second- or third-round pick, he instead slipped to the sixth round, where he was seventh tight end taken in the draft.
“Honestly, I didn’t have the progress yet that I wanted at South Carolina because of the quarterback situation,” Adams said on a conference call with Giants reporters, according to SB Nation. “But I felt like I made the best out of it, and did what I could do.”
The Gamecocks have had 54 players picked in the draft since 2000. Shell, who watched the draft at his parents’ home in Goose Creek, is the third USC offensive lineman drafted in the past two years, joining former teammates A.J. Cann (third round, Jaguars) and Corey Robinson (seventh round, Lions), in 2015.
“It’s awesome just being a part of the Jets organization,” Shell told Jets media. “I’ll be ready to get up there and get to work.”