The Oakland Raiders hit when they picked WR Amari Cooper in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s easy to see for anyone that watches him that he has what it takes to be an elite WR. He has displayed that by going over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first two season in the NFL.
But Cooper’s production has been front-loaded in both of seasons and has fallen off down the stretch. In his rookie season, he had 920 yards and averaged 77 yards per game in his first 12 games. In his last four games, Cooper had only 150 yards and averaged just 36 yards per game.
He had a foot injury that year that can easily be attributed to the rookie wall many players hit. After their last college seasons, they have no break until they have completed their rookie seasons. First, they have to train hard to get ready for that all important NFL Scouting Combine.
After that, it’s Pro Days, private workouts and as soon as they’re drafted, they have rookie minicamps. Then from there, they have OTAs, regular minicamp and six weeks to train for training camp. So it’s easy to see why Cooper sustained that foot injury and why the rookie wall exists.
For Year 2, the player gets to rest after the season and has learned how to take care of his body. So we all expected Cooper to be able to come down the stretch of the season strong but he didn’t. Cooper started off well again with 981 yards and averaging 81 yards per game through 12 games.
But he fell off the cliff again with just 172 yards on 43 yards per game in the last four games. QB Derek Carr missing the last game didn’t help but a shoulder injury was his undoing down the stretch. So Cooper showed up to OTAs and minicamp built like Adrian Peterson to take the pounding.
They saying Year 3 is the year we see what a player really is.
Carr was an NFL MVP candidate and Khalil Mack was the NFL Defensive player of the Year in Year 3. He’s already not a bust but it will be interesting to see what Cooper becomes in his Year 3!
Just win, baby!