Others have great expectations for Amari Cooper, such as Jerry Rice.
The Hall of Fame wide receiver recently compared Cooper, the Raiders’ rookie, to Oakland great Tim Brown.
Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks, too, is confident Cooper will be a star in his first season.
“I think Amari Cooper is going to rip it up, just watching what we’ve seen from him in Oakland, his route running has even improved from the time he left Alabama,” Brooks wrote on NFL.com recently. “He is going to be a guy who right now comes in and plays.”
But as Cooper, Oakland’s No. 1 draft pick, prepared to start his first training camp practice with his new team on Friday, he was more like John Wayne or Henry Fonda than Brown – a man of quiet confidence and few words.
And for the Raiders, that’s probably a good sign.
Cooper, the former Alabama All-America, seems content to let his actions speak louder than his words. He’s not starting training camp with predictions of a 1,000-yard season, 100 catches or the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
In a brief question-and-answer session with members of the Bay Area media this week, Cooper indicated he’s eager to get going but not thinking ahead.
He’s not getting ahead of himself. He knows he has a job to do and is focused on the task at hand. His new teammates and coaches have talked often this offseason about Cooper’s strong work ethic, and he’s about to prove it.
For the team being, at least, his quotes are pure vanilla.
“I’m just going to take it day by day and try to get better day by day, taking advantage of every moment while I’m out on the field,” he said.
Though the Raiders are counting on him to make an immediate impact on their offense in 2015, Cooper says, “I don’t really feel any pressure.”
In fact, Cooper says he’s been trying to soak up as much information as possible from his teammates. He recently spent time with other Raiders wide receivers and quarterback Derek Carr at a voluntary pre-training camp session in Bakersfield, Carr’s hometown, to fine tune his knowledge of routes, the playbook and the connection with Carr. He says time spent with veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree, formerly of the 49ers, also has helped.
“He’s a great player,” Cooper told reporters. “I always watch him. He uses his body well to get open. … I try to steal those things from him.”