Going into the draft, it was widely assumed that at two Alabama players would hear their names called on Thursday night. The first, Amari Cooper, didn't have to wait long as the Raiders tabbed him with the fourth overall selection. Landon Collins, however, was surprisingly left on the board going into round two. The Packers curiously drafted a free safety out of Arizona State a year after drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, who went on to have an excellent rookie campaign. Seems that pairing Ha Ha and Landon again would have been intriguing to them, but there is no way to know what NFL execs are thinking. In any event, there is no shortage of draft coverage out there. Oakland fans are understandably excited:
His on-field abilities have been compared to Tim Brown. Brown was also the Raiders' last original drafted wide receiver to have 1000 yards for the team. And it makes sense why Brown was lobbying hard for the Raiders to draft Cooper. And it's only fitting that in the same year Tim Brown is finally to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award Winner, Heisman Trophy finalist, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and Unanimous All American, is polished and pro ready to give the Raiders a top target right now. That has to make Derek Carr a very happy man right about now.
The Raiders had other options when their turn came up at No. 4. They passed on USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, thought to be the best pure talent in the draft. Instead, the Raiders wanted offense. This sent a message that they value Derek Carr, their young quarterback, enough to give him the best draft-day toy any quarterback in the league will receive.
"Excellent quickness and balance to get a clean release against press coverage and to make defenders miss in space. Accelerates in a flash, generating the burst to gain separation from top cornerbacks. Makes the spectacular reception look easy with terrific hand-eye coordination and awareness to high-point passes. Competitive blocker. Will freelance on his routes a bit and simply drops too many footballs. Cooper dropped at least one catchable pass in each of the three 2013 games I viewed (Virginia Tech, Auburn, Oklahoma), including a potential go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter in the Iron Bowl." Per Joel Correy, Cooper will get $13.054 million in total compensation for 2015, with a signing bonus of $12.619 million.
The Raiders aren’t looking for Hall of Fame numbers from Cooper right away. They just want to have an NFL-quality receiver. Andre Holmes, a journeyman, led the Raiders with 693 receiving yards last season. Oakland was one of two teams in 2014 that did not have a receiver with at least 700 yards. In fact, the Raiders haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss in 2005. That streak of futility may soon be over.
Steph Curry doesn’t have to be the only playmaker in the Coliseum-Arena duplex. Tim Brown doesn’t always have to be the last Raiders receiver to generate highlight noise with hands. Darrius Heyward-Bey – the seventh pick in the 2009 NFL draft – doesn’t have to be forever mentioned when a Raiders drops a ball, runs the wrong route or does something that would embarrass Fred Biletnikoff.
Congratulations, Coop. Well deserved. Now on to other stuff:
Collins has no such issues, and the former Alabama star's absence from the first round was something of a head scratcher. Collins, at 228 pounds, is viewed by some scouts as a strong safety whose ability in deep coverage could be limited in the NFL. There are few other explanations for Collins' fall, and the likelihood that he will be an early second-round pick seems high.
Odds are that Landon won't be on the board for long. More than anything, he is something of a victim of his own position and style. As seen in the Alabama secondary, particularly since the Tucker hire, playing bigger corners at safety is a growing trend as the rules have marginalized big hitters. Turnovers are now more valuable than ever.
Lawson Schaffer wanted a chance to prove himself. He'll get that opportunity at Alabama. The reigning Class 6A Player of the Year from Cullman announced this afternoon that he has accepted a walk-on invitation from new Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson. Schaffer, a 5-foot-11 guard, also had a walk-on invite from Bruce Pearl and Auburn, and UAB. Schaffer's lone Division I offer was from Furman. He was mainly pursued by Division II schools.
This could end up being a great story. Ultra productive point guard who is lightly regarded by college programs comes to his home state's flagship program to play for and be mentored by a former NBA star at the same position. Looking forward to seeing what Coach Johnson can do with this young man.
The Crimson Tide maintained its lead in the SEC spring football arrests race Wednesday morning when starting cornerback Cyrus Jones was arrested and charged with two counts of third-degree domestic violence. There's no word yet if there has been stiff competition among Tuscaloosa bail bonds companies like Bustin Loose Bail Bonds (awesome logo, check out the website) to become the official bail bondsmen of University of Alabama athletics.
OK, the headline is pretty funny but still a troll job from a Louisiana writer. We should probably expect it though.
The ladies are third in the SEC currently and still have a shot to make a run.
Alabama baseball fell, 5-1, to 23rd-ranked Arkansas in the series opener on Thursday evening inside the Hoover Met. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 23-22 on the season and 8-14 in conference play.
Unfortunately, the baseball team's season seems to be ending on a similar note to that of the men's basketball team. Season is pretty well a lost cause at this point, hopefully they can do better next year as they come back home.