Down
enlarge
Raiders select Amari Cooper with No. 4 pick
0:40 | NFL
Raiders select Amari Cooper with No. 4 pick
Friday April 24th, 2015

The Oakland Raiders badly needed a true No. 1 wide receiver to pair with QB Derek Carr. They may have found one, in the form of Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. Oakland nabbed Cooper with the fourth-overall pick, despite defensive tackle Leonard Williams' availability at that spot.

Cooper is a polished, impressive playmaker—he should slot alongside James Jones in Oakland's starting lineup, with Rod Streater, Michael Crabtree and others helping to round out the rotation. The Raiders have not had a receiver of Cooper's caliber since Randy Moss' brief time with the franchise came to a close in 2005. Williams would have been a strong addition to 2014 first-round LB Khalil Mack, but it's hard to argue with this selection.​

• 2015 NFL draft tracker: Pick-by-pick grades and scouting reports

Strengths: All those statistical accolades did not come by accident. Knows how to create space for himself and does so all over the field. Bursts out of his routes, with a willingness to head into traffic. Capable of handling the entire route tree, no small feat for a player making the college-to-NFL transition. More speed than people tend to think--noticeable when he gets a step on a cornerback and widens that gap down the length of the field. Not bothered by press coverage at the line. Shows awareness against zone, for the most part, finding gaps for his quarterback. Slick body control. Does not waste movement getting to the catch point, then trusts his hands. May not dominate on jump balls in the NFL but capable of going over the top of DBs. Will be ready to contribute from Day 1. All those statistical accolades did not come by accident. Knows how to create space for himself and does so all over the field. Bursts out of his routes, with a willingness to head into traffic. Capable of handling the entire route tree, no small feat for a player making the college-to-NFL transition. More speed than people tend to think—noticeable when he gets a step on a cornerback and widens that gap down the length of the field. Not bothered by press coverage at the line. Shows awareness against zone, for the most part, finding gaps for his quarterback. Slick body control. Does not waste movement getting to the catch point, then trusts his hands. May not dominate on jump balls in the NFL but capable of going over the top of DBs. Will be ready to contribute from Day 1. 

Weaknesses: Fails to fit the “big receiver” mold as several other potential Round 1 prospects will. Drops the occasional pass he should catch, though those mistakes come as a small percentage of his targets. Probably will never be a great run-blocker on the outside and could stand to be a little more physical overall. Almost overreads his routes at times, sitting them down when he doesn’t need to do so. Most anything filed under this category for Cooper is nitpicking. No glaring problems with his game.

Player Comparison: Jordy Nelson

Grade: A-minus

GALLERY: SCENES FROM THE NFL DRAFT

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.