By Danny Cox
Name: Amari Cooper
Weight: 211 lbs.
Draft Pick: Fourth overall in First Round
The Oakland Raiders need to do something to make the 2015 season more successful than the past few have been, and they are hoping some offseason moves will do that. A number of moves were made, but perhaps the biggest one was the selection of wide receiver Amari Cooper out of the University of Alabama in April’s NFL Draft.
Cooper played wide receiver at Miami Northwestern High School in southern Florida, and he unfortunately missed most of his junior season with an injury. His skills and talents were still obvious though, and he excelled in the 7-on-7 summer circuit before his senior season.
As a senior in high school, Cooper rebounded from injury to snag 33 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns to earn a first team FHSAA 8A All-State selection. In the 2012, Under Armour All-America Game, he showcased and stole the spotlight with a 93-yard punt return TD and a 75-yard touchdown grab.
Not long after that game, Cooper made his college selection and chose Alabama over a number of other schools, the Crimson Tide were glad he did.
During his freshman campaign, Amari Cooper played in all 14 games and started the last nine of the season. He led the entire Tide team with 59 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdown catches. Those scores were enough to break a 62-year-old school record, and Cooper’s reception and receiving yard totals broke Julio Jones’ freshman records.
As a freshman, Cooper also won a National Championship and shined in the victory over Notre Dame with 105 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Injuries shortened his sophomore season and he only played in 12 games, but he still had 45 receptions and four touchdowns. Cooper also led the team with 736 yards through the air.
No one can say that Amari Cooper doesn’t know how to rebound from injuries. Just like in high school, he came back and played better than ever. As a college junior, Cooper not only had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns (all school records), but also twice had single-game receiving yard records with 224.
Obviously, his versatility and strength were things that led him to be predicted as a Top Five pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cooper was seen as a prize for any team that got him, and the Oakland Raiders were fortunate enough to be able to select him.
In his rookie season, Cooper is expected to start at wide receiver opposite Michael Crabtree and catch passes from Derek Carr. The young wideout brings a lot of talent to the Raiders, and he’s going to bring the consistency and excitement the team has been missing for quite some time.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.