Conference Call with Amari Cooper

Q: Considering the Raiders weren't one of the teams that brought you in for a visit, how shocked were you to hear your name called when they were on the clock?

Cooper:"I wasn't that shocked. I kind of knew they liked me."

Q: How did you get that feeling that they liked you?

Cooper:"Just talking to them at the combine."

Q: You were targeted 170-something times last year. As an NFL rookie, you might not be targeted that many times. Is that going to be frustrating for you?

Cooper:"No. I'm just going to work as hard as I can and whatever results yield from that, I'll be fine with it."

Q: People talk about how polished you are. What are some of the things that you think you still need to work on most?

Cooper:"Just being consistent in my performance. Looking the ball all the way through every single time, so that I can catch the ball as many times as it's thrown to me. High-pointing the ball every time. Just the small things to make me a better player."

Q: Do you know anything about Derek Carr?

Cooper:"From what I've heard, he's a really great, young quarterback. To be honest, I didn't watch many NFL games last year. What I've heard, he's a really good quarterback and I can't wait to build a rapport with him."

Q: How much did Lane Kiffin help you to develop to the player you are?

Cooper:"He wanted to see every player reach their fullest potential. He harped on the small things with me, like looking the ball all the way through and high-pointing the ball so that I can be the best player that I can be."

Q: How did you develop your approach? Where did that come from?

Cooper:"Just being diligent and conscientious as a receiver. Just trying to be the best I can be. I think for the most part, it's come because I've played this position all my life. Usually when you get a wide receiver at the college level, they haven't played wide receiver their whole life."

Q: How young were you when you started playing wide receiver?

Cooper:"Third grade. From the time I started playing football, I've always played the same position."

Q: How did you choose to play wide receiver in the third grade?

Cooper:"I didn't choose it. I wanted to play running back because when you're young, all teams really do is run the ball. We had two great running backs, one was the coach's son and the other one was really good, but they knew I was a great athlete, too, and they used me at receiver."

Q: One thing that you are better at than most prospects is your route-running. How much of that have you focused on?

Cooper:"I'm a wide receiver. There are only two ways you can get open at wide receiver, your releases and the top of your route. The whole route-running process is really important. I just focused on it and try to be the best that I can at it so I can create as much separation I can for my quarterback."

Q: Did you watch any specific wide receiver on film to pattern yourself after?

Cooper:"When I started playing wide receiver at a very young age, my coaches tried to teach me how to run a route. I was already good at it because I had been doing it already in my backyard, I just didn't know what the routes were called. I was pretty good at cutting so it came pretty natural and pretty easy."

Q: What's your experience level with California and the Bay Area?

Cooper:"I've been there twice just recently. I went there for a Nike shoot and for [ESPN's] Sports Science. My first time being there was in the past month."

Q: So, in fourth or fifth grade, you're in your backyard running routes?

Cooper:"No it was before that. It was when I was like five or six before I started playing organized football. Me and my friends were in the backyard just playing football."

Q: So you'd just run the routes and they'd throw to you?

Cooper:"Yeah, we would just play against each other. We'd try to guard each other. We had to find ways to get open, that's what I mean when I say I was already running routes. I was just finding ways to get open. When I had to run a slant route or a comeback route, which the coach called it, I was already familiar with running and getting open so it came easy."

Q: Would you say it was perfecting your route running that led to your breakout season last year?

Cooper:"It was a combination of different things. I think my mindset is probably the most important thing. Being able to stay positive through whatever injury I had or whatever situation I was going through and focusing on the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be."

Q: What drew you to football as a kid?

Cooper:"Probably this place called The Barnyard, it was my after school program."

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