Oakland Raiders Rookie Amari Cooper Getting Work As Punt Returner
It has been a rough decade and a half for the Oakland Raiders with the storied NFL franchise struggling to get back to prominent status in the league despite numerous high draft picks that were expected to turn things around.
Although history has not been kind to the Raiders in terms of draft success, Oakland believes they may have started to put it together with two consecutive draft class that could put them back on the map.
The biggest reason for optimism in Oakland is the team’s selection of elite wide receiver Amari Cooper out of Alabama. Cooper is expected to be a game-changer for the Raiders and it may not just come downfield, but rather on punt returns as well.
According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, Cooper is getting some work in as a punt returner:
Amid gushing springtime reports categorizing Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper as the “real deal” and “ready to break out immediately,” Oakland’s first-round draft pick is doing more than just catching passes during this week’s mandatory minicamp.
Cooper is also seeing work as a return man, fielding punts along with a gaggle of other Raiders.
With Cooper receiving incredibly high praise already, along with an already talented young group led by Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, the Raiders may be on the verge of a new era. Oakland is starting to make all the right moves and next season may be the first step toward a rebirth of sorts for a franchise in desperate need of a competitive squad in a tough AFC West division.
The additions of Cooper, Trent Richardson, Michael Crabtree, Roy Helu Jr., and Malcolm Smith will likely be a step in the right direction for Oakland. It remains to be seen whether the Raiders will be able to compete for a playoff spot, but they’re off to a promising start with the start of next season a few months away.