In 2018, the Oakland Raiders have four difficult AFC North games to play. As a result, the offense needs to step up early and often. In particular, Amari Cooper must show why people should consider him a true number one wideout. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria, Anthony Zaragoza, and Chris Simmons discuss which AFC North cornerback will give Cooper the roughest time.
Former Raider TJ Carrie will be the toughest test Amari Cooper faces in the AFC North. After seeing each other in practices on a weekly basis in Alameda, Carrie and Cooper will know each other’s tendencies and the battle between the two will be a lull. Whether on an island on the outside or in the slot, Carrie is adept at sticking with his man. Moreover, with him shadowing Coop, yards after catch (YAC) will be limited.
William Jackson, Bengals. After being hurt in 2016, Jackson played extremely well last season. The former first round pick from Houston held opposing quarterbacks to a staggering 31.3 passer rating when on targets in his direction. Cooper will have his hands full Week 15.
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With the departure of Ravens CB Jimmy Smith, the AFC North took a significant hit in terms of overall talent at the position. However, Cooper seems to have had some issues with heady cornerbacks who win with their brain and their hands rather than their raw speed. In that regard, Brandon Carr may be the most experienced cornerback in the conference. He is not a player who will physically overwhelm his competition. Instead, he is going to out think and out work him. As Cooper is also not an especially physical player, who admittedly would rather win with his feet, DBs like Carr can give him problems. However, Gruden’s touch should help quell some of his issues across the board.
When most fans think of the AFC North, they do not envision top-tier corners. Yet, each team can field at least one shutdown player that could give Amari Cooper fits. In a year where Cooper must take the lead receiver spot, he cannot waste the opportunity.