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Amari Cooper boasts NFL-ready polish for fantasy


Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, each day NFL Fantasy will profile a prospect who could make a splash in fantasy next season. Today's subject is former Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.

"The Godfather" or "Citizen Kane"? The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Kevin White or Amari Cooper? While the White vs. Cooper debate might not hold the same cache as the others listed before it, like all great debates, there are strong opinions on both sides. And as the 2015 NFL Draft rapidly approaches, the discussion is heating up as to who is the draft's top wide receiving prospect. Earlier, I dove into White's tape to see what he offered from a fantasy perspective. This time, I turned my microscope on Cooper.


Draft coverage:

Cooper's draft profile

Full "Prospect a Day" list


     » Complete wide receiver
     » Can work the middle and catch in traffic
     » Good acceleration to top speed
     » Excellent route runner

In 2014, Cooper won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's most outstanding receiver, and after watching the tape it's clear why he beat out the likes of White and Rashard Higgins (Colorado State) for the honor. Cooper can do it all as a wide receiver, running precise routes from the outside or slot, and proving adept at working all levels of the field. He also has sure hands and plays big in the biggest games.

Cooper is often credited as being the most polished receiver in this draft class, and well, the proof is in the pudding. He isn't the flashiest in terms of one-handed or leaping catches, but he does all of the little things so well to create separation in his routes. His touchdown against Auburn made waves on the internet when the all-22 angle showed Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin making the touchdown sign before Cooper even hit his break! With his already established skills and grasp of the position, Cooper should be able to make an immediate impact for his future NFL team.


     » Lacks game-changing explosion
     » Concentration drops at times an issue
     » Could shield defenders better with body

There isn't much to gripe about when analyzing Cooper's tape. He has great speed and plays fast on the field, but he does lack that "elite" explosion that some teams covet. He has great hands, but at times has been hit with cases of the dropsies when his concentration wanes or he's trying to make a play too early. And lastly, he could stand to shield some defenders better with his body, because while not as large as some of his fellow 2015 draft class, he still has a good frame and could do more with it.

Ideal NFL fantasy fits

     » Oakland Raiders
     » Chicago Bears
     » New York Giants

Cooper could be the reliable target Derek Carr needs to continue developing in Oakland, while also immediately becoming the team's No. 1 wide receiver. With Alshon Jeffrey's deep prowess, Cooper could thrive in the space underneath as a possession option for Da Bears. Odell Beckham Jr. and Amari Cooper? Yes please. I know this is exactly what I said with Kevin White, but come on. You know it'd be awesome.

Early fantasy draft projection

There's a lot to love about Cooper's body of work at Alabama and potential as an NFL starter. His polished route-running should allow him to make a quick splash in an NFL offense, and could allow him to thrive if he lands in a system more based on timing. He'll definitely be worth a flier in redrafts to provide depth at the wide receiver position, but for dynasty leagues I might wait to take Cooper in the second round as opposed to the first.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar