He’s been in the league for two seasons. Been a 1000-yard receiver and Pro Bowler both seasons. And he’s still just 22-years-old. Raiders receiver Amari Cooper may be just scratching the surface of his talent and already he has blown away the NFL average on several routes.
First and foremost, he is the best in the league on the deep ball. According to Pro Football Focus, he led the league catching 61.1% of passes thrown to him on the deep ball.
This isn’t catches for 20+ yards, but targets 20+ yards down the field. So, it won’t include short passes with yards after the catch over 20 yards.
His success with the deep ball has much to do with his ability to break from his coverage. For that reason, Derek Carr’s passer rating on deep balls was an impressive 117.6.
Carr’s passer rating was well above league average when throwing to Cooper on most routes. But four in particular were especially good.
- Corner route — 63.3% above league average
- Flat route — 59.1% above league average
- Go route — 37.1% above league average
- Double move — 30.5% above league average
One criticism I’ve had over the past couple seasons with regard to Cooper has been his aggressiveness to fight for balls. Like most areas in which Coop isn’t where he would like to be, he has been working to eliminate that shortcoming.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s coming to work with a purpose,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said of Cooper. “He’s really been impressive with the way he’s attacked each day. He’s working on the small things. Working on things that maybe hindered him as the season went on last year. I think that you’re going to see an impressive version of Amari in 2017.”
It was clear just by looking at him, he has bulked up some in the offseason. He also doesn’t appear nearly as shy with the media now heading into his third season. Strength and confidence will help greatly especially when combined with his already impressive skills.