Oakland Raiders Jerseys The Oakland Raiders have a pair of top 10 draft picks on offense, but it might come as a shock to many that quarterback and 2016 MVP candidate Derek Carr isn’t one of them. And despite having one of the best offensive lines last season, the Raiders don’t have a single first-round pick on that unit either.
Oakland is the only team in the league with a pair of wide receivers that are former top 10 draft picks — Amari Cooper, who went fourth in 2015, and Michael Crabtree, who the 49ers selected 10th overall in 2009.
It took Crabtree awhile to fulfill his potential across the bay before arriving in Oakland, but he’s been a very valuable asset to the young Carr. In many ways, he’s finally playing like a top 10 pick. Having said that, Cooper remains the most important offensive Cheap nfl Jerseys weapon for the Raiders due to his sky-high potential.
Poor quarterback play and injuries plagued Crabtree with the 49ers. He finally posted his first 1,000-yard season in 2012. His chemistry with a brand-new starter at the time, Colin Kaepernick, was unbelievable at the end of that season, but Crabtree missed all but five games in 2013 and then wasn’t on the same page with Kaepernick the following year, his last in San Francisco.
In Oakland, though, Crabtree has been an immediate hit. Prior to 2015, he only had one 900-yard season, but he has reached that mark twice in two seasons with the silver and black. In 2016, he recorded his second 1,000-yard season. Over the past two years, he also has 17 touchdowns. In his six seasons with the 49ers, he had 26 scores.
For that reason, an argument can be made that Crabtree is actually more valuable to the Raiders’ cause than the young Cooper. In his first two NFL seasons combined, Cooper has just 11 scores. Crabtree nearly matched that each of the last two years with his nine touchdowns in 2015 and eight in 2016.
Without question, Crabtree is the favorite red-zone target. Carr targeted the 29-year-old 21 times inside the opponents’ 20-yard line last season. Cooper received just 13 such targets, and it isn’t hard to see why. Drops are an unofficial NFL statistic, but Pro Football Focus had Cooper down for 18 drops during his rookie season. Sporting Charts had him with 10 drops, but either way, he was among the league leaders in the category.
Perhaps Carr looked more towards Crabtree in the red zone (and important situations) due to his more reliable hands. In addition to red-zone targets, Crabtree led the team in targets and receptions.
However, that theory can be easily refuted with the fact Crabtree led the league in drops this season with nine according to Sporting Charts. The same site says Cooper had just three. Again, drops are not a reliable stat, mostly because every source has different criteria for what makes a drop, but it’s still difficult to say why Crabtree is the favorite of the two receivers in the red zone. It might simply be because his veteran savviness has more quickly led to chemistry with Carr.
And for those reasons, Cooper is still the more valuable long-term receiver for Oakland. With time, he will become more comfortable in red zone
Cheap jersey wholesale situations. Don’t forget, he only turns 23 this July. Through two NFL seasons, Crabtree only had eight touchdowns, so Cooper is ahead of him with 11, and Cooper had less college experience, coming into the league a year earlier.
With time, Cooper’s hands will improve as well. They already made a significant improvement in his short NFL career. While his catch percentage rose 7.5 percent, his drop percentage also fell to 2.3 percent. That’s lower than Odell Beckham Jr. and right on par with Julio Jones.
Just because he hasn’t lit the league on fire like Beckham did doesn’t mean Cooper isn’t still destined to be a No. 1 NFL wideout. For now, Oakland is more than happy dividing the targets between two former top picks, but eventually Cooper is going to be the team’s star. His potential remains sky high, which ultimately makes him the more valuable receiver for the Raiders.