Raiders get their guy in Amari Cooper

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio confirmed Thursday night that they got “their guy” in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Raiders stayed put with the fourth-overall pick after not receiving much interest, according to McKenzie.

“While we were on the clock, none. Leading up to it, a little bit,” McKenzie said in a press conference about interest in the pick.

Whether it was a surprise or not, the Raiders had their choice of Cooper or star defensive lineman Leonard Williams who was still left on the board.

McKenzie said seeing Williams fall to him never made difference in his opinion, as the star wide receiver from Alabama was the player he wanted all along.

“’Coop’ was on our board high from the start,” McKenzie said. “It didn’t matter about the position; it was about the player. We thought we had a chance to get a really good player and we were excited he was there.”

And there was no hesitation to take him.

“At this time, today, we kind of know who we like,” McKenzie said. “So when Cooper was there, we were excited. Wehad an idea of kind of how it would go, but when Cooper was there, it wasn’t a whole lot of debate, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

McKenzie and Del Rio concluded that they knew that Cooper was their guy relatively early in the process.

“We got the coaches involved after the combine, so that was a process,” McKenzie said. “But in the personnel department, this guy was one of the top guys. So we said, hey, when you go through this process of the combine and the pro days and all the interviews, once that factors out, we knew he was going to be a top guy.”

Out of the top 10 teams in the NFL Draft, the Raiders were the only team to not invite him to the facility for a workout or an interview. But McKenzie maintains that wasn’t a decoy of any sort.

“No, no decoy,” McKenzie said. “We bring guys in whether it’s a medical issue or whether it’s a mental issue or whether it’s, you know, just trying to get more information. We had all the information we needed to see. We looked at all the film that we needed to see and just spending a little time with him, we got to know the person. We talked to everybody who has been around him. We’ve got coaches on our staff who have been around him at Alabama. So we knew the kid, so there was no need to do anything decoys on that one. But we liked him as soon as we saw him on tape.”

And it was no surprise to Cooper that the Raiders selected him, due to the interest they expressed at the NFL Combine in February.

“I wasn’t that shocked,” Cooper said. “I kind of knew they liked me.”


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