April 30th is fast approaching and the diehard fans of the Silver and Black are chomping at the bit trying to figure out how Mark Davis is going to handle the first round of the 2105 draft. Al Davis, the patriarch of the football empire, used his gut to make his picks, and always went for the best available player, but that has changed since Mark Davis has taken the reigns.
Last year, Mark looked to Reggie McKenzie, the General Manger, for advice and they deviated from the normal strategy. The number five overall pick, Khalil Mack (LB) fell into their laps and Raider Nation saw an instant difference in the defensive line. Also, with the addition of Derek Carr (QB) at number 36, fans could see a potential turnaround in the franchise. McKenzie has a penchant for wheeling and dealing like a used car salesman, so it should be no surprise to see him trading down for more picks.
According to NFL.com, the Raiders have a great chance to combine the strategies of father and son. With a number four overall pick and a need for a wide receiver, The Men in Black might actually have a chance of filling a position on their offense.
If there is any position that seems to be missing on the Raider’s roster, it has to be the Wide Receiver. Even with Michael Crabtree, James Jones, and Rod Streater one the roster, the Raiders still have an apparent need for a number one receiver.
This is where Alabama’s golden boy Amari Cooper comes in. Standing a 6’1″ and weighing 211 pounds, he is a long and lean powerhouse. Cooper was deservingly named the nation’s best receiver last season, after catching 124 passes for 1727 yards and 16 touchdowns, and he was only a junior.
His only competition comes from West Virginia. Kevin White, a Mountaineer senior, made the most of college career during the 2014 season. White stands 6’3″ and weighs 219 lbs., but holds his own against Cooper as far as stats are concerned. White received 109 passes that allowed him 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns. Mike Mayock, a NFL Network analyst has Kevin White over Amari Cooper, for two reasons, He believes White has a higher ceiling and greater potential.
Even with Cooper named number one, how will the Raiders handle this situation. Having the pick of two dynamos is a position that many of the teams behind Oakland would love to be in, so it is imperative that they make the best decision for the organization.
Kevin White and Amari Cooper are both power-driven and sought after performers on the field, and gifted enough in their own rights to haul in a tough catch for a third down, or flashing downfield to catch a bomb from the dominant arm of Derek Carr.
It is apparent that they need another proficient player to fill in their offense, and Bill Musgrave, the new offensive coordinator is going to need a weapon in his arsenal to cultivate Carr during his perilous second year.
With the unpredictable nature of the Raiders during the draft, the fans hope to see either of these athletes on the roster for the 2015 season. No matter which player is chosen on April 30, having the addition of either of these athletes is a step in the right direction to resurrect the Raiders from their 3-13 record of last year. Only time will tell if the changes in coaching staff and draft strategy will be enough to have the Raiders take their place back as one of the NFL’s most loved and respected teams.
From field reporter: Mellissa Webster