Expectations are sky high for Oakland Raiders’ third-year receiver Amari Cooper going into the 2017 season. That being said, nobody expects more out of the former fourth overall pick than Cooper himself.
“I want to be better than every other year that I’ve played football, so that’s how I’m looking at this year,” said Cooper during a media session following Tuesday’s OTA practice.
The former 4th overall draft pick has continually evolved his training regimen as he’s navigated his first few years in the league, including utilizing his first trip to the Pro Bowl to learn from an NFL great.
“I asked Adrian Peterson like when did he start working out, how did he go about his offseason,” said Cooper. “And I tried to pattern after him a little bit.”
Cooper will hope that modifying his training routine will help to improve his consistency late in the season, as his productivity has seen a sharp decline during the home stretch.
In the Raiders’ final eight games last season Cooper put up 31 receptions for 366 yards and three touchdowns, compared to the 52 receptions for 787 yards and two touchdowns he put up in the first half of the year.
During that final eight games of 2015, he put up a similarly disappointing 27 receptions for 417 yards and two touchdowns. Those late season numbers were affected by injuries, as Cooper had put up 45 catches for 653 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of 2015.
Though Cooper was fighting through an ankle injury late in his rookie season, he refuses to blame his drop off in play on injuries.
“There is no excuse,” he said, “because every player in the last eight games has some sort of injury. You just play through it and you try to do the best for your team.”
In addition to soaking up advice from Peterson, Cooper also has Megatron and Beast Mode at camp with him to glean information from.
“I’ve just been asking him a whole bunch of questions,” said Cooper on spending time at OTA’s with Megatron. “He’s been giving me some really great feedback, so he’s nice to have around.”
The Raiders’ young star demonstrates maturity beyond his years in his preparation and willingness to learn from the elder statesmen of the league.