INDIANAPOLIS – Open your favorite web browser, hit the internet and search for a 2015 NFL mock draft. Odds are great the page you pull up will have the Raiders taking Alabama receiver Amari Cooper with the No. 4 overall pick.
Cooper is widely considered the best receiver in this draft. The Raiders desperately need a wideout. It’s a virtual consensus among draft analysts that those facts will result in Cooper wearing Silver and Black.
Cooper is a real talent, destroying SEC defensive backs with precise route running, speed and excellent hands. Even in a tough college conference, Cooper always got open.
He had an incredible junior season prior to turning pro, recording 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns on 124 receptions. In his three-year career, he had 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns.
The scary part: Cooper believes he has significant room for improvement.
“I'm only 20 years old,” Cooper said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think I'm one of the youngest players here. So most of those guys are older than me, so I definitely feel like I have a high ceiling and a lot to improve on.”
That should excite the Raiders to get a player who can make an immediate impact and steadily improve over time. Cooper is a quarterback’s best friend because he runs excellent routes rarely gives up on plays and fights to get open when his signal caller’s under duress.
While there are no guarantees in this draft, many experts believe Cooper could be a top wideout.
“The No. 1 receiver in your offense should be able to command a double team, and you absolutely have to double team him to contain him," NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks said. "... But what I really like about him, he is a guy who is still hungry, working on his craft. I think he's going to be better as a pro than he was as a collegian."
Cooper was humble during his press conference, and deferential to other talents when talking about his position group. There’s a quiet confidence about him, a rare demeanor for top-flight receivers, and an understanding that work will make him a star.
“I certainly want to be the best receiver, not just in this draft class, but overall,” Cooper said. “Wherever I go, and I'm going to work hard to try to be that.”