Cooper looks to make NFL mark


Amari Cooper runs a play against Southern Mississippi.  CW | Pete Pajor

Marquis Munson

Last season, Amari Cooper electrified fans with his big play skills on the field of Bryant-Denny Stadium and the rest of the SEC. Now the 6’4”, wide receiver from Miami, Florida, looks to do the same in the Bay Area in the NFL.

Cooper was drafted fourth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Oakland Raiders, a team that usually doesn’t make the smartest decisions with their draft choices. But, during training camp, Cooper has already impressed the fans of Oakland, his teammates, various sports analysts and some wide receiver greats.

In an interview with the Raiders’ team website, Pro Football Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice said Cooper could be the Raiders next Tim Brown.

That is a ton of pressure to put on a rookie but, if any wide receiver on the current Raiders roster has the potential to live up to that expectation, it’s 
Amari Cooper.

Last season, Cooper was the centerpiece of Alabama’s offense. He finished the season with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, won the Fred Biletnikoff Award and came in third in the Heisman Trophy voting, so there is no doubt in Cooper’s ability to perform on an NFL level.

Switching gears to the team Cooper will be lining up for, the Oakland Raiders, struggled last season to find their rhythm on offense with a struggling running game and mediocre wide receiver corps.

General manager Reggie McKenzie has done a great job these past two NFL drafts, drafting linebacker Khalil Mack and Derek Carr last year and a solid draft class that included Cooper this year. The team is making strides to become contenders in the NFC West—not now, not next season, but very soon.

Many fans believe Cooper can’t flourish in that organization, looking at the Raiders as a graveyard for NFL players to never be heard from again. With new head coach Jack Del Rio and a quarterback like Derek Carr going into his second season, and after showing tons of potential last season, Cooper is in the best position to succeed as a premier wide receiver. As for the next Tim Brown, only time will tell.