The Raiders selected Alabama WR Amari Cooper Thursday night with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cooper enjoyed a decorated career in Tuscaloosa, ranking second all-time in SEC history (since 1956) with 3,463 yards and also bringing home the 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award given to the best receiver in the nation.
Following the pick, General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio addressed the media at a press conference, and spoke about the newest addition to the Silver and Black.
Find out what we learned from their media session.
- It Was All About Production
During Cooper's time at Alabama he proved to be incredibly productive, leading the SEC with 1,727 receiving yards, and his 1,000-yard season in 2012 was good for fifth in the SEC that season, and the third-best yardage total among Alabama freshman.
"I think that was a big part of the process, going through and looking at the tape," said Coach Del Rio. "He's had a very productive college career. Coaches loved him, scouts loved him. It's good when you get a guy that there's a lot of respect for his body of work."
- The Front Office Was High on Amari from the Beginning
"Coop [Amari Cooper] was on our board, high, from the start," said McKenzie. "It didn't matter about the position; it was about the player. We thought we had a chance to get a really good player, and we were excited that he was there."
- Derek is Going to be a Happy Camper
QB Derek Carr turned in an impressive rookie campaign in 2014, throwing for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns, but headed into year two, the Raiders front office felt it was important to get him some help on the outside.
Well, objective complete.
"It's very nice when it goes hand-in-hand," McKenzie said. "When you get a chance to get a great player and he fits one of the needs. It was great when that fell in place."
- This Kid Can Run a Route
Some of the adjectives used to describe Cooper have been "polished" and "versatile." While the Miami-native is only 20 -years old, his game, and in particular his route-running ability is indicative of a player many years his senior.
"He can run a route," McKenzie stated. "It seems like he can do that with his eyes closed. He's exceptionally quick. He's fast and he understands the game. You can tell the guy has been playing football and playing that position all his life. You can tell that. He's an extremely hard worker. You don't hear any negatives about this guy."
- He Really Can Do it All
Coach Del Rio described the newest Raider as versatile, and in addition to his crisp route running, Cooper showcased during his college career that there isn't much on the football field he can't do.
"He has been lined up all across the board – outside, both sides, inside the slot, moving around, even lined up in the backfield some," Coach Del Rio said. "So he's been exposed to a lot, been utilized a lot of different ways. He's run the entire route tree. It's rare when you find guys that come into the league and they have that kind of polish on them coming out."
-Expectations Are High
While Coach Del Rio was hesitant to say that Cooper would start Week One, he made it clear that he did have high exceptions for the rookie and that he expected him to compete from day one.
"I think the way we like to do things is to come in and earn your role and compete," Coach Del Rio said. "But the expectation level should be high for a young man that comes in that is selected that high in the draft. But he'll need to prove it on the field and earn it. That's how, really, it is with everybody. There certainly is a high expectation that goes along with somebody selected that high."
Click HERE for the full transcript of today's press conference.