This offseason the Oakland Raiders have made a lot of moves. One of the biggest ones was signing former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. At 33, there is some question as to how much Nelson still has in the tank. However, that disregards the most important thing that Nelson is bringing to the Raiders: His ability to mentor Amari Cooper.
Throughout Nelson’s career he has put in the work on and off the field, always being a professional which is how he became one of the most beloved Green Bay Packers. There are few players who have meant as much to the Packers as Nelson, his release is still a sore topic among Green Bay locals.
There is very little doubt in my mind Jordy Nelson will play well for Oakland despite his age. He has never been an amazing athlete as much as a blue collar worker who out maneuvered and outworked the competition. And his ability to toe the sideline and expertly play the boundaries is simply ridiculous.
This is the first area of mentoring that is going to be extremely valuable for Amari Cooper. There have been so many frustratingly close incompletions for Cooper throughout his career where he just didn’t quite get his feet in bounds. At times it has been one of the areas most in need of improving for Cooper. If anybody can help Coop develop this skill, it is Jordy Nelson.
For Cooper to reach his full potential he must get more aggressive on the field. That’s another area in which Nelson excels. The way he fights for every catch and every yard. He uses his hands extremely well to get open and relishes bump and run plays in short yardage situations and is known to run over defenders for first downs. If the ball is within reach of Nelson he does everything he can to make the play.
Imparting that aggressive mentality on Cooper probably the most important way that Nelson can help him. Too many times Cooper has allowed himself to be controlled by the defender.
It’s time for Coop to step up, now that he is healthy again and Nelson is the perfect guy to teach him some veteran moves to get open against tight, physical coverage.
Off the field, Nelson is someone who understands Cooper’s standoffishness with the media better than most. Being a 10-year veteran, Nelson can surely offer Cooper plenty of tips on how to deal with the media despite not enjoying it.
In practice, Nelson’s extreme work ethic matches what people say about Cooper and the two of them really have a chance to bring the best out of each other. This is by far my favorite signing of the off-season, his value as a mentor alone makes him worth every penny Oakland paid him.