Alabama in the Pros

Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden says Amari Cooper ‘will be offensive focal point’ in 2018

James Lang - USA TODAY Sports

Injuries and dropped passes kept Amari Cooper from having a third consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2017, but the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft is still a talented weapon. 

Prior to his 14 games last season, the former University of Alabama wide receiver was twice selected to the NFL Pro Bowl after having 1,000-yard performances in 2015 and 2016.

During his rookie year, Cooper became the first Oakland Raider since Randy Moss (2005) to record 1,000 yards receiving — as he totaled 1,070 yards with six touchdowns on 72 catches in 2015.  

Regardless of his drops in receptions (48) and yards (680) from 2017, Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden is behind Cooper. Per a report from Chris Wessling of on last Wednesday, Gruden said Cooper ‘will be the focal point of our offense… the headliner in our offense. 

An AC/DC bond was formed between Cooper and quarterback Derek Carr, who enters his fifth NFL season this fall, in Cooper’s rookie year. Since then, the ex-Fresno State standout has consistently looked for his favorite target on a multitude of different plays downfield. 

On a good note, Cooper collected a season-high seven scores and averaged 14.2 yards a reception in 2017. Despite the Raiders also having Michael Crabtree, Gruden told reporters at the NFL Combine ‘that we [Raiders] think Amari Cooper is going to be a great player.’ 

A bounce back 2018 campaign will be the cards for Cooper this fall. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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