Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper will shine in 2015


Last season, the Oakland Raiders did not have a No. 1 receiver for Derek Carr to work with. That will change with the addition of first-round pick Amari Cooper.

Before the 2015 NFL Draft, it was hard to find a mock draft that didn’t have the Oakland Raiders drafting Amari Cooper in the first round. After all, Cooper was not only the top receiver in this year’s draft, but also one of the better ones from recent memory. The Raiders also had a huge need at the position, as they really received no consistent production from the position in 2014.

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Knowing the need to give franchise quarterback Derek Carr a weapon to work with, the Raiders drafted Cooper with the fourth overall pick. By drafting Cooper, the Raiders got Carr a legitimate No. 1 weapon and also a guy defenses will have to key in on, which in turn will make it easier for other players on the Raiders to have success.

When the draft season began, analysts fell in love with Cooper. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, with sub 4.4 40-yard dash speed and perhaps the best body control from any prospect in recent memory, Cooper truly has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the league one day. He’s extremely polished, as his hands are consistent and his route-running skills are extremely crisp.

It also helped that he came from Alabama and played in the toughest conference in the nation. In college, Cooper simply dominated defenses. In 2014 alone, he recorded over 200 receiving yards against Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn. All three SEC schools had some of the best secondary talent in the nation in 2014, however, Cooper was still able to dominate the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III, Cameron Sutton, and Jonathan Jones.

At this point in the offseason, teams are figuring out what their roster will shape up like and what their plan in the 2015 season will be. According to Michael Wagaman of ESPN.com, head coach Jack Del Rio has raved about Cooper and his ability.

"The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, whom head coach Jack Del Rio calls one of the most polished receivers to come out of college in years, has been extraordinarily smooth no matter who has been throwing the ball his way."

It’s not just the coaching staff that’s taking notice. Rod Streater, who may compete with Cooper for playing time this season has also talked about Cooper and how he will help the team win games in 2015:

"“He adds an explosiveness to the offense,” said Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater, who missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing foot surgery. “I feel like he is going to come in and make an impact right away. The more playmakers you have, the better you are going to be. He is really going to help us win.”"

With all of the positivity going around with Cooper, it’s safe to say that the Raiders will feature him heavily in their offense in 2015. Besides James Jones, no receiver caught more than 47 passes last season. That said, having a guy like Cooper to help out Jones will not only go a long way for both of them, but it will also greatly help Carr and his progression throughout the next few years of his career.

In 2015, Cooper will start from the get-go. If he avoids injury, he has the skills and the resources around him to develop into a guy who can catch around 100 passes a season. However, for the upcoming season, expect Cooper to shine immediately.

Next: Oakland Raiders can't succeed without Derek Carr

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