“I came to Alabama to win, but I also wanted a chance to play in the NFL and that dream was realized tonight,” Amari Cooper said. “This is a special night and just the start of the next chapter of my football career. I want to thank all of my teammates and coaches at Alabama for an amazing experience. I also want to express my excitement to the Raiders’ organization and all of their fans, and let them know I’m ready to go to work.”
The first-round selection gives Alabama 14 first round picks in the last five drafts. In 2011, Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, James Carpenter and Mark Ingram all went in round one while Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont'a Hightower were taken in 2012. Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker were taken in 2013 while C.J. Mosley and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix went in 2014. UA has now had 17 first-round picks during head coach Nick Saban's tenure at Alabama.
Cooper, who was the 2014 Biletnikoff Award winner and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy last year as a junior for the Southeastern Conference champion Crimson Tide, caught a school- and SEC-record 124 passes for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading Alabama to the first College Football Playoff. He ranked second nationally in receiving yards (1,727), touchdowns (16) and receptions per game (8.9) while ranking third in receiving yards per game (123.4).
The second and third round of the NFL Draft continues on Friday evening from the Auditorium Theater in Chicago with rounds 4-7 wrapping up the draft on Saturday.