The 2015 NFL Draft is just over a week away, and wide receiver is easily the deepest position in this year’s class. The two biggest targets at the position are Alabama’s Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s Kevin White, and many believe they will be targeted with the fourth overall pick.
That selection belongs to the Oakland Raiders, who are in desperate need of an ace receiver to further develop second-year quarterback Derek Carr.
Let’s start with Cooper. He isn’t the biggest at just 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, but has fine speed and amazing footwork for his position. He also caught 124 passes for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns en route to winning the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top wideout.
Cooper also had the luxury of playing in Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s pro-style offense, so it could be argued that his adjustment to the professional ranks would be minimal.
But Cooper is not without flaws. His breakaway game needs a lot of work, as he tends to hesitate once catching the ball and suddenly coming face to face with an opposing defender. Rather than immediately make a move, he’ll think about it and before he knows it he’s on the ground.
Once in the NFL, it’d probably be best for him to work as a slot receiver for his first year as he works on his flaws in practice.
Now let’s talk about White, a bigger, stronger and arguably faster option at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. He only reeled in 109 catches for just 1,447 yards and 10 scores. Those aren’t bad numbers by any means, but it’s a testament to how good Cooper is at getting himself open and beating coverage, something with which White struggles.
However, White is not without his strengths. Though he may struggle in press coverage, heaven help any defensive players once he makes a catch. The moment the ball gets into White’s hands, he goes into overdrive and speeds away.
If he’s going to be caught and tackled, opposing players are going to have to work extra hard to accomplish just that as they try to anticipate the jukes and spins he’ll make to try and throw them off.
That all being said, which receiver is the better option? Well, that depends on the team that selects them.
If a GM or coach wants a man that’s going to be able to make an impact immediately and be a No. 1 option, White and his more complete game would be the better option.
However, if the more desired option is a grinder who won’t make a grand impact immediately, but will gradually become a top go-to guy via impressing everyone in a small way, then Cooper is the man.
Either way, the respective stocks of both players are ones to watch over the next week as they are easily the two best at their position.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Brynn Anderson, Nick Wass/AP