Oakland Raiders: Matt Miller’s Midseason Mock Draft Has Amari Cooper as First Overall Pick


At 0-7 through the first eight weeks of the 2014 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders are in pole position for the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft with the hardest remaining schedule out of the teams sitting near the cellar of the league standings. Looking at a likely 0-16, or 1-15 season in Oakland means that fans and writers attention surrounding the Raiders will slowly be drifting towards draft talk as the months turn from October to November to bowl season in December for scouting college prospects that could potentially be franchise changers for the team.

Earlier this morning, we profiled USC’s Leonard Williams as a potential first overall selection for the Raiders as they continue to be in the sweepstakes for the first pick in 2015, with it being likely that the team won’t be interested in Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Because of that lack of interest in a quarterback, the Raiders options with the first overall pick are very interesting, with defensive ends in Williams and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory sitting atop of the board along with options for offensive playmakers to pair up with quarterback Derek Carr also serving as enticing options if Oakland do not wish to trade down from #1 overall should they wind up with the first pick.

One of those offensive weapons is extremely talented wideout Amari Cooper, who Bleacher Report’s draft columnist Matt Miller (the famous @nfldraftscout on Twitter) mocked to the Raiders in his Midseason Mock Draft on Tuesday. Looking to join the likes of Julio Jones and Eddie Lacy as offensive players from Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide teams to become elite NFL talents, Cooper’s 2014 season has been as dominant as any player in the NCAA which makes it no surprise that Miller is intrigued by the potential of giving Derek Carr a true #1 wide receiver of the future should the Raiders stay as the first pick in the 2015 Draft.

From B/R:

"The Pick: WR Amari Cooper, AlabamaWith zero wins, the Oakland Raiders have earned the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Now what do they do with it?The smart move would be trading down and offering the pick to a quarterback-needy team and add much-needed draft picks to restock this roster. That might be the realistic option come late April, but in a mock draft with no trades, it’s not possible. Let’s look at the Raiders’ roster, though, because there are plenty of holes to fill.Running back, wide receiver, offensive line, defensive end, middle linebacker, cornerback and safety are all needs. Basically, the Raiders have quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson, center Stefan Wisniewski, linebackers Khalil Mack and Sio Moore and the potential of cornerback D.J. Hayden. The rest of the roster could be turned over tomorrow due to age or poor play.Drafting a wide receiver No. 1 overall hasn’t happened since 1996 (Keyshawn Johnson), but it is the biggest need and best value for Oakland here. Without a need at quarterback, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston offer no value. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams or defensive end Randy Gregory may be an option, but Cooper is the type of explosive wide receiver needed to build a long-term relationship with Carr in this offense."

There will be plenty of discussion of what the Raiders should do in the coming months when it comes to the draft, but the idea of pairing Carr with an elite wideout from the college ranks is one that is going to be extremely popular. Whether Oakland pick up a wideout in the first round or later in the draft remains to be seen, but Cooper is emerging as the best and brightest of the options much like Sammy Watkins did last season at Clemson before being selected with the fourth overall pick by the Buffalo Bills. For now Miller, a respected draft mind who is one of the most popular draft analysts in football, sees Cooper as one of the players who the Raiders should be targeting. Searching to get back into the national title picture at Alabama, fans should keep an eye on Cooper as he looks to end his college career as one of the players who could end up wearing Silver and Black come 2015.