Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper spoke to the media Thursday as the veterans checked in for training camp at the team's Napa, Calif., training facility. Cooper was among a cadre of rookies and select players who were eligible to report early.
It was the first time the Raiders first round draft pick had addressed the media since the conclusion of the offseason program in June, and during his session he fielded questions about his initial thoughts of training camp as well as the differences between the college and NFL game.
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH QUARTERBACK DEREK CARR
Raiders fans hope that the Carr/Cooper connection is one they see for years to come, but with Carr not participating fully in the offseason program, the Raiders rookie wide receiver knew it was important for them to get their timing down before training camp.
It was for this reason that he worked out with Carr outside the team's Alameda, Calif., practice facility.
"Just to get some time with him [Carr], he hasn't really been practicing when I first got to OTA's so I wanted to build a rapport with him. It was beneficial because we got a couple of days to throw. He is very accurate with the football."
THE WORK BEGINS
Although Cooper and the rest of the Raiders rookies have been in Napa since Sunday, the real work begins tomorrow as the entire team takes to the practice field for the first time.
Heading into his first training camp, Cooper is focused and ready to get to work.
"I'm just going to take it day by day and try to get better day by day, taking advantage of every moment while I'm out on the field."
ADVICE FROM NICK SABAN
Cooper spent the past month training in Alabama at his alma mater with the Crimson Tide staff, and while he was there, Head Coach Nick Saban gave him some advice leading up to his first NFL training camp.
"I talked to him a little bit, he was just telling me how different NFL is from college football. He was just telling me basically to just stay the player and person that I am."
IT'S A NEW BALLGAME**
After an impressive career at Alabama, Cooper was considered one of the top prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft, but even just a few months into his professional career, he sees the difference between college and the pros.
"One thing I've noticed is players in the NFL are smarter than the players in college. You can't beat them with the same move twice in a row, or you can't really use the same releases and stuff. They're better at situational football so you have to be on top of your game and every aspect of the game."
IMPRESSIONS OF MICHAEL CRABTREE
Cooper isn't the only new wide receiver wearing Silver and Black this season. General Manager Reggie McKenzie signed free agent wide receiver Michael Crabtree in April, and Cooper has been keeping a close eye on the veteran wide out.
"He's [Crabtree] a great player, I always watch him. He uses his body well to get open and is raw so I try to steal those things from him."