The Oakland Raiders were the talk of the offseason as they were able to successfully file for relocation to Las Vegas and later lure Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. However, after a successful 2016 NFL campaign, the Raiders will be looking to take the next step and make their first Super Bowl appearance in nearly 15 years.
A major point of emphasis for head coach Jack Del Rio this year will be ensuring wide receiver Amari Cooper continues his development as one of the league’s most promising players. The former No. 4 overall pick has impressed in his early NFL career and will have a featured role in one of the league’s best offenses during the 2017 NFL season.
According to Scott Bair of NBC Sports, Derek Carr believes Cooper will be playing tougher this year:
I think that that’s the (new) aspect this year. He’s just playing so physical,” Carr said. “He’s not going to let anybody push him around, and that’s his personality since I’ve known him. He doesn’t want anyone to push him around. He doesn’t want to take anything from anybody. I think that each year he has gotten so much better at both of those.”
Cooper used the offseason to bulk up and add more muscle to his frame which should help him gain yards after contact. Listed at 6’1 and 211 pounds, the wideout possesses a unique blend of size and speed that makes him a tough cover for opposing defenses and has already proven he can hit the 1,000-yard mark each season he plays.
Cooper has acknowledged his inconsistency issues during his first two years in the league, but early signs in the preseason and practice have people believing he might finally overcome them. The Raiders receiver seems ready to go and it will be interesting to see what he looks like in his third year.