TEMPE, Ariz. If its true that adversity makes a better man, Jonathan Cooper may be living proof.
The Cardinals first-round draft pick couldnt play football until seventh grade because he was too big. He used to carry the water cooler for the football team and run up and down the sidelines cheering his older brother, Joshua.
He was picked on because of his size, so he often stayed inside reading books to avoid the unwanted attention.
It definitely makes me a hard worker and somebody who can push (himself), Cooper said. It makes me very humble. I had humble beginnings coming up, and I feel like that has just stuck with me and allowed me to relate to a wide variety of people, because Ive been on the side where youre not as popular and youre picked on.
Cooper wasnt heavily recruited initially (although he eventually earned 11 college scholarship offers), but those early childhood lessons and his work ethic changed all those doubts once he arrived at North Carolina.
When the Cardinals i...