Amari Cooper has already set both franchise and NFL records through his first two seasons. Where will he rank in Oakland Raiders history when his career is over?
From the late 1960’s to the early 2000’s, the Oakland Raiders (and Los Angeles) have always had a history of greatness at the wide receiver position. From Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch all the way to the Tim Brown and Jerry Rice duo and several in between, many great wide receivers have donned the Silver and Black.
However, the Raiders were in a serious drought of talent at the position from 2003 to 2014. So much so that they reached for players like Randy Moss and Javon Walker, which inevitably blew up in their face. It was indeed a dark period for not only wide receivers, but all 22 positions the Raiders fielded on Sundays.
Then came the 2015 NFL Draft, in which the Raiders had the 4th overall pick. Reggie McKenzie elected to select Amari Cooper, wide receiver out of Alabama with the pick. When Cooper was coming out, he was heralded as the best wide receiver in his class who would provide an instant impact on any team.
Coop not only lived up to that billing, but he quickly became one of the more respected wideouts just on his pure overall ability. Through his first two seasons in the Silver and Black, Amari has amassed 155 receptions for 2,223 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Before he turned 23 this past month, he ranked 2nd all time in receptions and 4th in yards in NFL history for receivers before the age of 23. He is also only the third wide receiver in NFL history with at least 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in his first two seasons in the NFL. Along with making some NFL history, Coop also made some Raiders history by setting a record 15 receptions for 25+ yards.
Off to a hot start, Amari is on a torrid pace and very may well end up as one of the game’s great wide receivers. In particular, he could certainly end up as the best wide receiver in Raiders history.
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Let’s do a little math and just for argument’s sake we’ll project if Coop kept this exact pace for 12 seasons with the Raiders. Doing so would put him at 930 receptions for 13,338 yards and 66 touchdowns. Looking at the all-time leading receivers in Raiders franchise history, this would put Coop only behind Tim Brown in both yardage and catches. His 66 touchdowns would be 4th all time, trailing Cliff Branch, Fred Biletnikoff and then Tim Brown.
One thing is pretty obvious and that is we have yet to see the best from Amari, so these numbers could easily be a bit deflated. You could also say because Coop was so young coming out of college, he could certainly play more than just 12 seasons with the Raiders. Tim Brown left the Raiders a couple of weeks prior to his 39th birthday, and if Amari can manage to do the same, that would give him 16 more seasons with the team.
Barring any major injuries and assuming that Amari stays with the Raiders for if not his entire career, but a big chunk of his career, you can expect him to seriously challenge some all-time Raiders greats in the receiving department. So while this is a fun exercise, let’s not get too caught up in where Coop will rank all time, and instead appreciate having such an immense talent at the wide receiver position.