Alabama superstar and 2014 Heisman Trophy Finalist Amari Cooper will be taking the leap to the NFL in 2015, and there is no doubt that his elite talent will translate to a top 10 selection. Teams are always looking to add depth and talent to their receiving corps, and bringing in the best wide receiver to come out of Bama since Julio Jones is one quick way to do just that.
Cooper was a big play maker all three years with the Crimson Tide. During his freshman season, Cooper made his name known with 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 59 receptions. Even during his sophomore year which was plagued with toe injury issues, Cooper managed over 730 yards and four touchdowns.
Cooper became a household name this past season, hauling in 124 passes for an insane 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. Cooper torched the SEC’s best defenders with 224 yards and two touchdowns against the Tennessee Volunteers, 244 yards and three touchdowns against the Auburn Tigers, and then 201 yards and three touchdowns against the Florida Gators while lined up opposite Vernon Hargreaves III, arguably the best cornerback in college football right now.
Cooper clearly has a bright future as one of the best receivers in the NFL on Sundays. He is a dangerous combination of size and speed much like Odell Beckham Jr, and he creates a mismatch against practically ever defender that tries to lineup opposite him. Cooper also has a high football IQ, great route-running abilities, and the speed and agility to run after the catch for an extra five or so yards per catch.
Cooper may not be the biggest guy on the field, but he will have no problem burning defenses on a basic go route. Teams without Darrelle Revis will be forced to provide safety help over the top unless they want Cooper to find his way to the end zone on every play.
Speaking of Revis, Cooper may be teaming up with him on the New York Jets come the 2015 NFL Draft. The Jets desperately need some help on offense—in fact, they were the only team that failed to pass for at least 3,000 yards in 2014. Obviously Geno Smith and Michael Vick are more to blame for the poor stat line than the Jets’ receivers, but it never hurts to improve the weapons around the quarterback.
The Jets have the 6th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft; and with five teams selecting before them, there’s a good chance Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will be gone when they’re on the clock. If that’s the case, the Jets would be silly to pass up Cooper (assuming he’s still available as well). If the team wants to give its fans something to get excited about, a one-two punch of Brandon Marshall and Amari Cooper would certainly do the trick.
The Oakland Raiders have the 4th pick in the draft, and they are the only other team in the top six that might be after a wide receiver. Fortunately for the Jets, they seem to be more interested in Kevin White from West Virginia.
Either way, Cooper is on his way to Sunday football, most likely with a losing team. Coming from the University of Alabama, Cooper may have a hard time adjusting to a losing franchise; however, it will also give him a chance to show his talent off while helping a team build themselves into legitimate competitors built around him.
NFL cornerbacks better watch out—Amari Cooper is on his way.