Raiders WR Amari Cooper’s potential overshadows his success
The Oakland Raiders believe they drafted a guy in Amari Cooper who could end up being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and possibly even find himself ranking among the best to ever play the game. But through his first two seasons, much of the conversation about Cooper is about underachieving. Whether it’s due to late season disappearing acts or issues being shut out of games, people have tended to talk more about Cooper’s unreached potential than his achievements.
And that’s pretty surprising because his achievements have been flat out amazing.
Through his first two years, Cooper has 2,223 yards and 155 receptions. He was 20th in the NFL in receiving yards his rookie year and 8th his sophomore year.
In his first two years, Jerry Rice had 2,497 yards on 135 receptions. Tim Brown had 990 yards on 61 receptions in his first two full seasons (he missed most of his sophomore season with an injury). Randy Moss had 2,726 yards on 149 receptions.
Now obviously, Moss and Rice had more impressive starts to their careers, but Coopers numbers are within a close range to both of them. He had more receptions and was fairly close to Rice and within the same ballpark as Moss.
And if you take a look at the start of Tim Brown’s career, you can see that sometimes, players take a while to reach their full potential. Early in Brown’s career he looked like a bust only to become one of the best receivers in history.
I am one of the many who have fallen under the spell of Amari Cooper’s potential. As a result, I’ve found myself talking more about wasted potential than achieved success. I talk about his late season struggles or other frustrations more than about how lucky the Raiders are to have a young stud receiver to go along with their young stud quarterback.
I mean, let’s be honest here. If Amari Cooper continued his career down the same path he is on right now, even without reaching his full potential and becoming elite, the Raiders still have a VERY good number one receiver who will continue to be one of the top ten in the league for most of his career. Sure, that wouldn’t mean seeing a once in a generation player like many of us believe Cooper can be. But we can’t let the insane potential blind us from the already great results Amari Cooper is producing.
So instead of talking so much about what Amari Cooper could be, I am going to try and focus on how great it is to have a guy who hit the 1,000 yard mark two years in a row after the Raiders hadn’t seen any receiver hit that mark in forever.