Going into the 2014 season, San Francisco 49ers‘ wide receiver Michael Crabtree has yet to sign a contract extension. If this remains the case, he will be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2014 season. With all the young talented players that the 49ers have who are ready for extensions, they might not have enough money to pay Crabtree the kind of money he wants. So what will the 49ers do without their No. 1 receiver? Draft another one, of course.
One of the top wide receivers that will be coming out in the 2015 draft is Amari Cooper out of Alabama. Cooper would be a natural replacement for Crabtree since they possess a lot of the same strengths. Cooper runs all of the routes of the route tree very well and is strong at the catch point. When battling with cornerbacks and going up for the catch, much more often than not Cooper is the one that comes downs with the ball. Crabtree is the same way.
Another common strength these receivers have is their size. Both receivers are 6-foot-1 and just over 200 pounds. This allows them to be physical with opposing cornerbacks and helps them outmuscle defenders on jump balls. Cooper’s size also allows him to be a very good run blocker for a wide receiver, something you don’t see very often at that position.
Cooper’s body control is incredible as well. When his quarterback throws a ball that isn’t in a good spot, Cooper is able to adjust his body and make the difficult catch. He does this quite often and it’s one of the things that sets him apart from his peers.
The thing that sets Cooper apart from Crabtree in my eyes, and therefore gives him a higher ceiling, is his speed. Not only is Cooper extremely dangerous on his intermediate routes, but his speed makes him a danger on deep balls as well. His speed, along with his size and agility, also makes him a huge threat after the catch.
Amari Cooper is absolutely someone the 49ers will have their eyes on all season. Scouts will be paying close attention to every snap he’s in the game. With the possible departure of Crabtree, Cooper is an extremely viable option for the 49ers and someone you should be paying attention to in the 2014 season. He has all the traits of a true No. 1 receiver and if that’s the role he has to step into right away with the 49ers, I wouldn’t expect him to have a slow start. He’s NFL ready and should have an immediate impact.