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Pro Football Focus loves Raiders new receiver Amari Cooper

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PFF's analysts have nothing but glowing things to say about the newest member of the Raiders offense.

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Anybody who reads ProFootballFocus knows they are football junkies. They watch every game, every player, every play. And while they say this is a very deep and talented receiver class, they agree that Amari Cooper is clearly the best overall player in it.

PFF ran a Reaction Blog during the first round of the NFL Draft last night, and here is what they had to say about Cooper:

"Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The Raiders need to make life as easy for possible for Derek Carr and getting the smoothest, most polished wide receiver available goes a long way towards that. Cooper might not be the athlete say of a Kevin White, but our grading found that White isn’t the receiver that Cooper is. Nobody is. …"


According to this article, Cooper was third in the country in yards per snap while running a route. Considering he was second on the list in snaps taken (a stat that would seem to mitigate his average yards per), that makes him arguably the most effective receiver per overall snap by his offense.

While Cooper did a lot of his work in Alabama's ground and pound, play-action offense on screens and underneath routes, this piece suggests that Cooper is one of the very best receivers at running the deep route. Cooper produced 531 yards and seven scores on passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield. While the deep pass is historically a low-percentage play, Cooper makes the most of it as well as anyone.

PFF's receiver overview article also had similarly glowing things to say about Cooper. Here's an excerpt:

Amari Cooper is head and shoulders above the rest of the receivers in this draft class. He finished the season as the top-graded wide out when looking only at his work as a receiver, and though his iffy blocking dragged him down a little, he was still right at the top overall. When you turn on the tape you see not only one of the most physically impressive receivers available, but also by far the most sophisticated when it comes to route running, understanding of zones and intelligence on the field.

PFF also noted that Cooper led FBS with 172 targets and forced 26 missed tackles  In addition, he recorded only eight drops on 132 catchable passes last year. That's comparable to the NFL's most-targeted WR, Antonio Brown, who logged five drops on 134 passes.

The only real knock on Cooper has nothing to do with how he has performed on or off the field. It's "has he hit his ceiling? Can he improve?" Since Cooper was clearly the best receiver at the collegiate level, it's difficult to gauge that until he begins to play in the NFL. He will begin his career as arguably the best receiver on the Raiders and will probably already be one of the best in the AFC. He is a notoriously hard worker and when he gets better he won't be compared to other players in his draft class- he will be compared to the all-time greats like Rice, Brown, Carter and Harrison.