Poked, prodded, pricked -- pro prospects have been thoroughly examined by franchises leading up to this month's NFL Draft. However, fantasy owners are just now dissecting their Year 1 potential. Over the next several weeks, we'll attempt to channel our inner Mayock determining whether Rookie X will be fantasy flame or lame material this fall. Friday's profile: Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.
College Highlights: The SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Heisman finalist and Biletnikoff Award winner set the pace nationally in receptions (124) and finished second in yards (1,727) and touchdown receptions (16) last year. A touchdown scoring machine, he found the end zone 31 times in 40 career games. In 2012, as a freshman, broke numerous receiving records owned previously by Julio Jones. In three years with 'Bama he recorded 13 100-yard and nine multi-TD efforts.
Pluses: Despite only adequate size, Cooper is a gritty, tough and highly productive receiver. He excels on post routes downfield and executes undauntedly over the middle on crosses and slants. His rapid acceleration to top speed (4.42 40-yard dash) is excellent. His quick sticks, planting ability and physicality at the line of scrimmage allows him to gain separation from defenders, a coveted skill at the next level. Versatile target. He saw action in the slot and outside at Alabama, thriving in all areas. Showcased sticky fingers at the NFL Combine plucking everything in sight. Tireless worker. Typically grabs the spotlight on big stages.
Minuses: Listed at 6-foot-1, 211-pounds Cooper is by no means a giant. Due to a lack of size, he must shield his body from defenders to win one-on-one battles. Concentration lapses are an issue. He dropped 13 passes in 26 games from 2013-2014. Scouts often point to absent polish noting Cooper occasionally fails to finsh or freelances on routes, problems, that if not rectified, could land him in the doghouse.
Pro Comp(s): Roddy White, Sammy Watkins
Team Fits: Oakland, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota
Projected ADP/Auction Value ($200 cap): 65-75 (WR32)/$10-$15
Fearless Forecast: Cooper has the baseline skills needed to contribute meaningful numbers from the get go. His ability to generate space, considerable speed and awareness are major strengths. Some have mistakenly compared him to Odell Beckham, but, in the right situation, he could venture into WR3 territory in 12-team leagues as early as this season. Learning from and working opposite of a proven, deep-rooted receiver (e.g. Alshon Jeffery) would greatly enhance his chances to be instantly productive. Landing spot, obviously, is critical. Ceiling: 70-1000-7. Floor: 50-650-4.
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