Arguably the best receiver in the 2015 draft class, Alabama’s Amari Cooper has a chance to be on the board when the New York Giants are on the clock at number nine overall.
At 6’1″ and 201 lbs, there is no doubt that Cooper has the elite caliber size and pass catching ability to be a dangerous threat at the NFL level. The big problem for New York in selecting Cooper is their already stocked bull pen of pass catchers.
Newly signed running back Shane Vereen figures to give quarterback Eli Manning a reliable safety blanket out of the back field next season. Meanwhile, tight end Larry Donnell has the size to the find the soft spots in defensive zone schemes and wide receivers Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., and Reuben Randle will make up one of the league’s most dangerous receiving trios.
Factor in promising developing play makers Dwyane Harris, Corey Washington, and Marcus Harris and the roster looks far too crowded to justify adding Cooper to the mix with far more pressing needs elsewhere. With quality offensive lineman like Iowa’s Brandon Schreff, LSU’s La’el Collins, and Stanford’s Andrus Peat most likely on the board as well come the Giant’s pick, the team would have to be incredibly high on Cooper’s abilities to justify jeopardizing the opportunity to improve a sub par line.
Still we must revert back to Giant’s general manager, Jerry Reese, and his quote from last year after selecting Odell Beckham Jr. 12th overall:
“I’m speaking for myself not just our personnel department and our organization, anytime there is a dynamic playmaker up there and a guard, I’m taking a playmaker.”
Could that foreshadow a Cooper over the lineman decision come this spring’s draft for the Giants?
Adding Cooper would be a tremendous boost to an offense already bursting at the seams with talented play makers, and his numbers at Alabama speak for themselves, showing you just how good Cooper could be.
During his 2014 campaign with the Crimson Tide, Cooper hauled in 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns (all of which led the nation) to top off his collegiate career numbers of 228 receptions for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns. In 2012, Cooper broke current Atlanta Falcon’s superstar, Julio Jones’ record for the most receptions and yards by a freshman (Jones had 58 catches for 924 yards) by hauling in 59 receptions for 1,000 yards.
He’s a tremendous athlete, running a 4.42 second forty yard dash at the 2015 NFL Combine, while also posting Combine best numbers of 6.71 seconds on the three cone drill and a 3.98 second twenty yard shuttle. The SEC Offensive Player Of The Year winner is by far the most complete all round receiver in this year’s draft.
Although he needs to work on looking catches all the way in (Cooper had 13 drops over the last two seasons), he still has the potential to be a high volume target in the short and intermediate games, while also being counted on to win the occasional downfield ball, as early as his rookie season in the pros.
He’s garnered comparisons to Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison, which will carry both enormous praise and pressure for any young receiver. However, if he can replicate the success Harrison had alongside Peyton Manning with Peyton’s little brother in New York, the Giants would have drafted the final piece to one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. That is how good Amari Cooper could potentially be with the Giants, but the team still has other holes it needs to way the risk of not addressing with one of the nation’s top players in order to get him.