With the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select . . .
. . . We don’t know.
But it will probably be a wide receiver – for a couple of reasons. One, as we saw with Odell Beckham Jr. last season, the transition for rookie wide receivers from college to the pros has never been smoother. Two, the Raiders finished last in the league in total offense and second-last in scoring offense (15.8 points per game) last season. And three, Alabama’s Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s Kevin White are two scintillating talents.
Cooper, at 6-1, 211 pounds, had 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. White, at 6-3, 215, had 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Brandon Tierney, for one, would take White over Cooper. So, too, would Tim Brown – even if he didn’t always feel that way.
“I think what happened initially was when you finished the year, there was no doubt in the people’s minds that I talked to that Amari Cooper was above Kevin White – simply because you had seen more of Amari Cooper in big situations than you had seen Kevin White,” the Hall of Fame wide receiver said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “But once you really looked at the situation and looked at what this kid Kevin White was capable of doing, and then you get to the Combine and you see him perform both in agility stuff and speed and catching balls, everybody went, ‘Hmm.’
“So I think that’s pretty much where it is right now,” Brown continued. “I think the Raiders – I don’t know anything for sure – but I’m hoping they’re debating (between those two). But if I know the Raiders the way I think I do, if they decide to go with a receiver, I most certainly think they’re going to go with the guy who is the fastest, which would be Kevin White in this situation.”
It’s hard to argue with that, but Tierney wondered what the Raiders might do if USC defensive line prospect Leonard Williams were to fall to the fourth pick. Considered by many analysts the top prospect in the draft, Williams would give Oakland a dynamic duo with linebacker Khalil Mack, who was the fifth overall pick in 2014.
“It would definitely be a tough decision for them,” Brown said. “I think having such a young quarterback (in Derek Carr) and having a chance to get a young receiver to build with him and to have a carer with, I think, is a very difficult thing for them to pass on at this particular point. I think defensively they played well enough last year that, bringing in Leonard Williams would be great, but what does that do to your offense? Your problem was on the offensive side of the ball last year, not defensively. I was with the Raiders last week and (owner) Mark Davis said, ‘Look, our problem is offense, not defense.’ So from that standpoint, I would be shocked if they didn’t take a receiver.”