After breaking records with Crimson Tide, talented playmaker is poised to make immediate impact.
As the 2015 NFL Draft nears, ClevelandBrowns.com is ramping up its coverage to ensure fans know everything about the team’s potential picks.
The Browns have two of them in the first round, of course, so there’s plenty of turf to cover.
We’re starting this daily installment with a look at Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Vitals: 6-1, 211 pounds
Who’s linking him to Cleveland?
Charles Davis, NFL.com (post-Combine)
Why the Browns would be interested: Just because Cleveland beefed up its receiving corps with the signings of veterans Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe doesn’t mean the team is done addressing a position that accounted for just eight touchdown receptions in 2014. The three veteran leaders at the position -- Hartline, Bowe and Andrew Hawkins -- are all 28 or older. Though he doesn’t have the size of West Virginia’s Kevin White, Cooper has a route-running tree that makes him dangerous no matter where he’s lined up. His experience in a pro-style offense and overall maturity make him a likely first-game starter wherever he’s drafted.
Why he could be around at 12: Cooper has been projected as high as No. 4 to the Oakland Raiders, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the No. 3 pick, are hosting him today on a visit. That said, one of those teams could value White’s size and potential more and opt to use their pick on him instead of Cooper. Two teams who could definitely use a wide receiver like Cooper -- New York Jets (6) and Chicago Bears (7) -- have also been linked to numerous defensive players. The Minnesota Vikings, who pick right before the Browns, could stick with that mentality or even consider wide receiver DeVante Parker, who played at Louisville with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Why he won’t be around at 12: Though White was the star of the NFL Combine, Cooper’s consistency and the lack of risk that comes with selecting him could be too enticing for the Raiders to bypass. Oakland added a bunch of players to its roster during free agency but it did not add to a wide receiving corps that was one of the NFL’s least productive in 2014. The same goes for the Jets, who beefed up their secondary but didn’t give Geno Smith or whomever wins the quarterback job much to work with at receiver through free agency. And Cooper certainly looks like a nice way for the Bears to replace Brandon Marshall.
Stat to know: Cooper set the following records at Alabama -- Career receptions (228), single-season receptions (124), catches in one game (13), career receiving yards (3,463), single-season receiving yards (1,727), receiving yards in one game (224), career touchdown catches (31), single-season receiving touchdowns (16) and touchdown catches in a single game (3).
Quote to note: “I certainly want to be the best receiver, not just in this class, but overall, wherever I go, and I'm going to work hard to try to be that.” -- Cooper
The last time: ... Alabama had its first player in a draft class play wide receiver was 1968 (Dennis Homan, No. 20 overall). Julio Jones, who went No. 6 in 2010, was picked three spots after Marcell Dareus.