2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Top Ten Candidates

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1. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was very difficult for me to choose between Gordon and Cooper for this top spot. Both players are extremely skilled NFL-ready talents who have been drafted in to good situations. I was splitting hair here, but the fact that today’s NFL is such a passing league, made me give the edge to the wide receiver here.

Amari Cooper is the most NFL-ready rookie wide receiver in recent memory. He is an incredibly smooth and efficient route runner which allows him to get open on a consistent basis. Cooper also has extremely reliable hands, making both the easy catches and more difficult ones. He ran an extensive route tree under Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin at Alabama, playing in a pro-style offense throughout his college career.

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Cooper’s intelligence, pro-ready game and awareness on the field is top-notch, but do not let that distract you from his well-rounded physical skill-set. Cooper is a very strong and aggressive receiver with legitimate deep speed. He shows great quickness in-and-out of his cuts, and has plenty of athleticism to go up and get the ball against nearly any defensive back.

He is not a physical specimen similar to Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson, but Cooper is a very talented player who also focuses on the finer points of the game.

Part of the reason I am so bullish on Cooper this season is his quarterback. While inconsistent, Derek Carr had a very nice rookie season with the Raiders in 2014. He has obvious arm talent that plays at the NFL level, and he also showed nice field awareness and leadership abilities. Under Carr, the Raiders’ offense could have some nice upside going forward.

With Cooper specifically, he is going to step into Oakland being not only the primary option in the receiving game, but the first option in the entire offense. He is primed and ready for this opportunity, and the Raiders seem ready to force feed him the ball.

There are plenty of talented rookies who could easily be considered here, but give me Cooper’s NFL-ready skill-set and obvious opportunity.

Next: Quarterback Sleepers for the 2015 Fantasy Football Season

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