Oakland Raiders Preseason Week 1 Preview: Storylines to Watch
By Austin Gayle
Aug 2, 2015; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) at training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. Amari Cooper Makes His Debut in the NFL
With the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft the Raiders selected wide receiver Amari Cooper, and the former University of Alabama star has been effortlessly shining early in his NFL career.
Cooper has been putting on a show at training camp, often times exposing veteran cornerbacks predicted to start for Oakland in 2015.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport is among multiple analysts that have mentioned details of Cooper’s strong performances throughout the offseason.
“What the organization wanted was an NFL-ready, polished pass catcher who loves football, Rapoport reported. “He’s been all that and more, and it looks like Cooper will follow in the footsteps of the 2014 rookie receivers when it comes to showing up and being able to play immediately.”
An immediate impact is exactly what Oakland is expecting from Cooper in 2015, as he is predicted to be the most-targeted receiver for sophomore quarterback Derek Carr.
The Raiders have found themselves in the most stable position at quarterback since 2002, as Carr was the first Oakland quarterback to start all 16 games in a season since Rich Gannon, but his continued development will lie largely in the hands of Cooper.
Given the poor performance from Oakland’s receiving corps in in the year before, Carr and company will be dependent on Cooper to improve their offense dramatically in 2015.
Cooper will also be lining up against either 2014 Pro Bowl Alternate Janoris Jenkins or sophomore cornerback E.J. Gaines, both of which had solid performances in the previous season.
Whether or not Oakland ends up pulling out the win in their first game of the preseason, much of the focus will be on Cooper’s ability to live up to the hype in his first appearance.
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