Oakland Raiders Debate Over Kevin White, Amari Cooper Wages On


Reggie Mckenzie just spent a lot of money upgrading the interior of the Raiders defense, signing a top rated Defensive Tackle, upgrading the Safety position and Linebacking Corp. On the offensive side of the ball, he added one of the top Centers in the league, a solid blocking Tight End, and a young talented Running Back.

The Raiders had fewer needs this season than last season, but they still had quite a few needs. Reggie was able to address quite a few of them. All except one, wide receiver. Because of that barring a potential miracle that Leonard Williams drops to #4 in the draft, the Raiders are expected to be taking one of the top rated Wide Receivers with their first round pick. The only question is, which one? Amari Cooper or Kevin White?

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For a long time, Amari Cooper out of Alabama was the unanimous favorite around the league and with scouts. With three quality years of record breaking production against top SEC defenses, Cooper shot into the conversation before the 2014 seasons was even half over. Cooper is the most complete, NFL ready receiver in the draft this year.  His rout running is second to none in this draft, his ability to get separation on deep routs, and get open over the middle is outstanding, he sheds tackles to pick up yards after catch in the flat better than most running backs, he’s strong, he’s fast, the list goes on…so why is there even a debate on who the Raiders should take? At the NFL Combine, Cooper graded out overall at a 7.2, showing incredible quickness in the 20 yard shuttle, and 3 cone drills. (3.98 and 6.71 seconds respectively) Amari Cooper is clearly the obvious choice.

Late in the year Kevin White started picking up steam, forcing his way into the conversation with his big time play, and big size. The doubts about his speed were put to rest at the NFL Combine when he knocked out a 4.35 second 40 yard dash. Grading out at a 6.7, White is taller than Cooper, faster than Cooper, jumps higher than Cooper, and stronger than Cooper…how could the Raiders pass on a player like this…he’s obviously the choice!

And so the debate goes.

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I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone that either one of these guys is a bad choice. I think both of these players have what it takes to be incredibly successful in the NFL.  I’m just glad Raiders get the first crack at them. Cooper is certainly the safest bet, he’s got a longer resume and has shown toughness by battling through a nagging injury through one season. I like that in a player. He’s very polished and could be inserted into an offense tomorrow and be the go to guy. Cooper isn’t as tall a White, at 6’1″ and a vertical leap of 33″ he might have some trouble winning some 50/50 balls against some of the higher rated corner backs in the NFL. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in technique.

White stands up at 6’3″ tall, and with 36.5″ vertical leap he’d give Derek Carr a more reliable target when throwing a jump ball in the end zone, especially with his ability to high point the ball to utilize his height and leaping ability.  As a rout runner, White is very good, but he’s not on the level of Cooper.  With time to develop he might be.  Early in his college career he seemed to have motivational issues, but it seems he’s put all that behind him.  That would scare me a bit; if I were a coach I’d always want to know my players are giving 100% every down.  A history like that, no matter how brief, would always raise doubt in my mind that a player could slip back into that mentality.

If I were forced to decide today who I’d pick, I’d have to go with Cooper. Once White is a completely finished product, he may very well end up having a higher ceiling than Cooper just because of his physical advantages, but I feel Cooper’s consistency over his college career, and the fact that the Raiders need to produce wins now, gives Cooper the advantage for me.

Both these players should have successful NFL careers; who do you prefer to see in the Silver and Black next season? Let us know in the comments.

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