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Rookie buzz: Dorsett, Cooper receiving rave reviews

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After deconstructing a mostly barren roster when he arrived in Oakland four years ago, general manager Reggie McKenzie began reconstructing a solid foundation with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack last offseason.

The early returns out of Raiders OTAs suggest McKenzie hit on another long-term building block in Amari Cooper.

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The No. 4 overall pick has reportedly been the "real deal", showing a veteran's savviness in offseason practices.

Alabama sources have told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that they believed Cooper was the best and most NFL-ready receiver the school has ever produced -- including Falcons superstar Julio Jones.

McKenzie, who cut his teeth in the Packers' front office, views Cooper as a bigger Randall Cobb, per Rapoport.

Carr's new No. 1 receiver is more than just a consolation prize after McKenzie missed out on his chance to recruit Cobb in free agency three months ago.

Which other rookies have been generating buzz in OTAs and minicamps? Here is a rundown of 20 players from around the league:

1. First-round wide receiver Phillip Dorsett has inspired a steady stream of hype since offseason practices began. The former University of Miami star has impressed not only with his blazing speed, but also with his attitude and intelligence. After watching Dorsett the past month, beat writer Mike Chappell is convinced the rookie will "cut into somebody's playing time this season."

2. Before Davante Parker underwent foot surgery earlier this month, Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins lauded the rookie wide receiver as "an animal" who "goes and gets the ball wherever it is."

3. Kevin White has stood out in drills, but he's not yet running with the Bears' first-team offense.

4. After spending last week's OTAs with the second team, Jameis Winston wrapped up Thursday's practice running the first-team offense. Winston is fully expected to be the starter when training camp opens in late July.

5. The Titans have been thrilled with what they have seen from Marcus Mariota this spring. "He is deadly accurate," wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson raved. "I am just giddy about his future going forward. ... He's the real deal."

6. Titans second-round wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham missed most of rookie camp and the first seven OTAs with a hamstring injury. The developmental project hopes to be at full strength for next week's minicamp.

7. While Kelvin Benjamin has nursed a hamstring injury of his own, Panthers second-round pick Devin Funchess has seen time at three different receiver positions in OTAs. The monstrous wideouts are "going to be a nightmare for any secondary coach," said Carolina's secondary coach, Steve Wilks.

8. Although Breshad Perriman has impressed the Ravens, it's journeyman Kamar Aiken who is lining up opposite Steve Smith with the first-team offense.

9. Multiple teammates have compared Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon to Jamaal Charles for his speed, patience and physical resemblance.

10. Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson acknowledged that second-round pick T.J. Yeldon has a chance to be an every-down back as a rookie. Yeldon is fully expected to be the starter when the season opens, according to the team's official website.

11. Second-round tailback Ameer Abdullah has taken advantage of Joique Bell's absence, endearing himself to quarterback Matthew Stafford. "I think as a runner he has great balance," Stafford said recently. "He's obviously a low-to-the-ground guy. He seems to hide pretty well behind there and he's got good vision. Out of the backfield, catching the ball, he's great. He's got great hands. He has a good feel for route running."

12. Jets director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger compared the drafting of defensive end Leonard Williams to walking downstairs and finding a Christmas present under the tree.

13. Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith has drawn comparisons between Vic Beasley and All-Pro Broncos pass rusher Von Miller for their "elite quickness."

14. A "freak athlete," Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones is moonlighting at safety during OTAs. "He's done a solid job," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's smart. A big plus for us, it gives us great flexibility."

15. Colts fourth-round safety Clayton Geathers has been fast-tracked, already mixing in with the first-team defense, while adding a dime-package linebacker role to his responsibilities.

16. With the injury to starter Will Beatty, the Giants have Ereck Flowers working as the left tackle with the first- and second-team offense to get him more reps. Second-round safety Landon Collins has come in and "looked every bit as good as he did every Saturday at Alabama," according to linebacker Jon Beason.

17. The Browns are preparing first-round offensive lineman Cameron Erving for a jack-of-all-trades role, trying him out at left tackle, right tackle and guard.

18. With Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady out for the season, the Broncos have settled on second-round pick Ty Sambrailo as Peyton Manning's blindside protector.

19. Behemoth seventh-round rookie Trent Brown is working with the 49ers' first-team offense at right tackle following Anthony Davis' surprise retirement/sabbatical.

20. Bills coach Rex Ryan is high on third-round guard John Miller. "He's looking like a 10-year veteran and he doesn't make mental mistakes, and he's an athletic guy," Ryan said. "When we took him, we thought he'd be our starter."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories, and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of a new segment. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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