Oakland Raiders Playing it Safe in the Draft With Amari Cooper


Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) during warm-ups prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY

Happy and content is how the Oakland Raiders should feel right now. Another 1st round, another slam dunk pick.

Amari Cooper is now a Raider and will no doubt be a huge upgrade to this receiving corps.

For the second year in a row, the football world is getting glimpse at the “new” Raiders. A collective, “Who are these guys?” must be going around the bars, pubs and homes of many draft fans around the world.

The Raiders and the Draft were once a running joke. Fans and pundits at the edge of their seats when the Raiders were on the clock. You just knew the Raiders were gonna go against the grain, and do what the Raiders do….be renegades. Some draft picks worked, some not so much, but the Raiders were must see TV on draft night.

This version of the Raiders are much more low-key. No flash, no surprises, no intrigue, and no mistakes. It would be hard for GM Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders to mess up in this years draft. Cooper, Williams and White, three of their reported top targets fell to them at #4. But mistakes happen, and some teams, especially the old Raiders, found ways to make the easy decision very hard.

The Raiders are now becoming the “Safe” team. The team that is becoming easy to pick for in your mock draft. The team who wont take a chance on high upside or a player with baggage, but rather focus on the most ready-made prospects despite potential.

They did it last year with Khalil Mack, who’s only real question mark was his small school. Other than that, Mack was as clean a prospect as ever seen in a Silver and Black uniform. Smart, Talented and a Love of football….oh, and no police record.

Could the Raiders have gone a different direction? Maybe trade up for Clowney who was better suited for their 4-3, or a Sammy Watkins who would have filled a major need. How about drafting the electric Johnny Football, to ignite this Raiders fan base?

While all of this sounds completely ridiculous in 2015, these were all real arguments up for debate in 2014. You remember, don’t ya?

Reggie and the Raiders played the same safe card again this year. No hype, no drafting on huge upside, just another solid pick of another solid player and person.

I know, I know…..”What about the 2013 NFL Draft?”. I get it, DJ Hayden was a risk coming off a serious injury. But remember, in one of the worst draft classes in years, Reggie was able to swing a trade moving down 9 spots, while gaining a 2nd round pick in the process.

The risk would have been picking Hayden at #3, and having no 2nd round pick. Reggie played the cards he was dealt, and hindsight is 20/20. In the end, I think Hayden and second rounder Menelik Watson will make Raiders fans very happy.

You see the playing it safe strategy is two-fold. Sure you may miss out on that Randy Moss or Dez Bryant type, but you win in the locker room and you win by staying out of the drama.

Sure Cooper’s upside is not that of Kevin White or Dorial Green-Beckham, but he fits the “New” Raiders to a tee. Solid, dependable and talented.

Reggie is building a foundation of solid players of high character, who are not only talented but also great individuals off the field.

Amari Cooper fits that mold. No diva in this wideout, just another player ready to go to work for the Raiders.