Receiver Amari Cooper took off at the snap, made a subtle move that created just enough separation as he sailed down the sideline.
Undrafted quarterback Cody Fajardo saw an opening and sent a perfectly-aimed, perfectly-timed volley and caught Cooper in stride.
The big play wasn’t met with celebration. It was just another day at the office for the Raiders’ No. 4 overall pick. It was his first day at work.
Cooper signed his four-year contract on Thursday, went to some team meetings and was ready to practice Friday morning.
Cooper wasn’t perfect. Far from it. He had some missteps during the two-hour session, but his talent was clear and present.
“He’s going to be a good player,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s just coming in and getting started like all of the rest of them. He’s a young man transitioning into the league. There’s a lot of work to do. Good to have him here and participating.”
Cooper and other young Raiders had meetings on Thursday afternoon and started real work for three-day sessions designed to help young players get up to speed. It’s difficult to absorb and execute so quickly, but Cooper didn’t find the enterprise difficult.
“No surprises it went exactly how I thought it would go,” Cooper said. “It was the first day of practice and it went pretty good. I made a couple of plays and we looked good out there as a team.”
Cooper updates were chief among the inquiries aimed at Del Rio, and probably will be during this offseason program. The Raiders’ shiny new toy carries expectations with him everywhere as fans hope he evolves into the next great Raiders receiver. They haven’t had one in a while, not since Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, and then Randy Moss worked in Silver and Black. So, yes interest in Cooper’s efforts will be intense.
“Are we going to do a daily update on our number one pick?” Del Rio said with a smile.
Cooper is ready for the limelight, although his press conferences aren’t must-see TV. Attention will be on him, even at this early stage of his Raiders career.
“Some of the others that played at some of the top programs have been exposed to talking with you all [the media] and part of that aspect of the job that if you’re taken in the first round is going to be part of your job,” Del Rio said “I think he’s prepared for that. I think he’ll handle himself just fine. If a kid comes from a smaller school, you may have more work to do to bring him up to speed, but typically, kids that come from some of the bigger programs like he comes from, that’s not a real concern.”