Oakland Raiders select Amari Cooper in NFL draft

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Friday, May 1, 2015
Alabama WR Amari Cooper catches a pass during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper catches a pass during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders selected Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper with the fourth pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The selection gives second-year quarterback Derek Carr the game-breaking receiver that has been lacking for so long in Oakland.

Cooper is considered one of the most polished prospects in the draft and immediately will become the top receiver on the Raiders. He led the nation with 124 catches last season in the tough SEC and ranked second with 1,727 yards receiving and 16 touchdown catches.

The Raiders have not had a receiver reach 1,000 yards in a season since Randy Moss in 2005, tied with Jacksonville for the longest current drought in the league.

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Oakland had done little to address the receiver position this offseason with former San Francisco wideout Michael Crabtree the only notable addition. Now with Cooper on board and the return of Rod Streater from a season-ending injury, Carr should have a lot more options to pass to this season.

Carr played well as a rookie and showed signs of finally ending the revolving door at quarterback in Oakland. But he averaged a league-low 5.46 yards per attempt.

After years of lackluster drafts, the Raiders finally started building their foundation for ending a 12-year run without a playoff berth or winning record.

Linebacker Khalil Mack stepped in as the fifth overall pick last year and immediately became one of the top players in the league at his position, proving capable of stopping the run and rushing the passer.

Third-round guard Gabe Jackson stepped into the starting lineup right away and played well as a rookie. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis and cornerback TJ Carrie also were contributors as rookies.