TEMPE, Ariz. -- Sometimes change is good.
In the case of former Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Jonathan Cooper, a trade to the New England Patriots earlier this week gave him an opportunity to start with a clean slate after a disappointing three years in the desert.
"It's almost like redemption," Cooper said on a conference call with the Boston media earlier this week.
Cooper, who was drafted seventh overall in 2013, was expected to be the Cardinals' left guard of the future until a broken leg in the third preseason game of his rookie year derailed that belief. He spent the next two seasons trying to overcome the mental hurdles of suffering his first major injury.
"It was definitely a learning experience," Cooper said of the broken leg. "I'm a firm believer that God has a perfect plan for everybody, so it happened and now I'm here. It was one of those things where it happened and it was kind of an unfortunate event, but now I'm here with the Patriots and have a great opportunity to kind of almost transcend that event."
Cooper talked about his strengths being his literal strength and his football IQ, saying he was able to learn to Cardinals' playbook and "got it down." In New England, he's looking to "become even more ingrained with the game."
Despite an unfilled tenure with the Cardinals, Cooper felt there's still an opportunity for him to reach the level that was expected out of him.
"I know that there's been a certain talent instilled in me that I just have to put together and I know that there's, I hate to use the word, but, potential," Cooper said. "There's the potential there to be a great player but it's just a matter of it kind of all coming together."
When or if that'll happen in New England is anybody's guess. He called the Patriots "a great organization with great structure."
But Cooper didn't want to look backward. Neither did Cardinals GM Steve Keim.
Asked if he was shopping Cooper or if the opportunity to trade for outside linebacker Chandler Jones prompted the idea to move Cooper, Keim wouldn't go into his feelings toward moving a former first-round pick.
"I think it was more about the ability to strike a deal for Chandler," Keim said.
Cooper was asked if anything prevented him from reaching his full potential with the Cardinals and he chose his words wisely.
"I don't like to dwell on 'what-ifs,'" Cooper said. "What kind of happens, happens. Honestly it's just looking forward for me, making progress every day, continuing to get better, and like I said I can't redo what has happened to this point, but what I can do is keep my head up and move forward and be grateful for the great situation that I am in here."