Kevin White or Amari Cooper?
Kevin White and Amari Cooper are the two biggest names at wide receiver heading toward the 2015 NFL Draft. With many a team looking to upgrade, the team that may be in the best position to land either of the two is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars were looking to bolster their receiving corps with a veteran wide receiver like Randall Cobb, but with his re-signing in Green Bay the Jaguars looked to spend that money elsewhere, filling needs at safety, linebacker, and cornerback with some up and coming players.
Without a game changing receiver left on the market and by securing the services of receiving tight end Julius Thomas, the Jaguars may wait until the 2015 NFL Draft to fill their desire for a big play threat. Cecil Shorts III, the veteran receiver for the Jaguars who had big play potential on nearly every down, has now signed with the rival Houston Texans, leaving a vacancy in a receiving corps dominated by rookies in 2014. Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Marqise Lee are great receiving threats, but adding another to the mix would be prudent of GM Dave Caldwell. Holding out for Justin Blackmon to be reinstated is a pie in the sky hope (that we just can’t seem to shake).
While the common consensus has been around a pass rusher at third overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jaguars could be intrigued by Kevin White or Amari Cooper. It was announced that Cooper was giving the Jags a visit recently and Kevin White has been mocked to the Jags in some 2015 NFL Mock Drafts. Barring a stunning exercise by a third candidate, these two make the most likely options if the Jags go wide receiver at three. White rocketed up draft board post-NFL Combine to compete with Cooper as the top wide receiver prospect.
While examining the two wide receivers, what I like most is consistency. I like seeing players that can excel at multiple times in their college careers. To me, that gives Cooper the edge over White right away. He is a Biletnikoff Award winner – given to the best receiver in college – and he has had two 1000 yard seasons at Alabama. White, in comparison, has had just one with the West Virginia Mountaineers. Cooper has also been the team leader in receptions all three years he has played in college. White has just one season leading the Mountaineers.
The consistency should never be undervalued, no matter how strong of a receiver a potential draft pick could be in the year leading up to his eligibility.
If the Jags are looking for a player that will be able to win battles for balls, though, they’ll have to weigh the 6’3″ Kevin White’s size advantage over the 6’1″ Cooper. Cooper is bigger at 210 pounds but White’s lanky 209 may be what the Jaguars really want. Cooper recorded a 33 inch vertical at the NFL Combine and a 34 in his pro day. White put up a far more impressive 36.5 inches at the NFL combine. With Blake Bortles’ limited development (dare I say, regression) in his first year, getting a player on the outside who can go up and get those errant passes or outmaneuver the defensive back may be a necessity for the Jags. He was also a top performer at the bench press, putting up 23 reps. He can outmuscle defenders and get to the ball better than most of them. Kevin White would be the guy for the Jags if they need someone who can outplay the defender and play the ball better.
While I personally value consistency and proven ability – as I have stated before – it is incredibly tempting to go out and get an athletic wonder like White for the Jaguars. There’s no guarantee that the Jags go after a wide receiver in the first round, but if they do they’ve got to weight what they went out of another addition to their receiving corps. Is Allen Robinson developing into that dependable Jags receiver already, making Cooper redundant? What about the Justin Blackmon situation? Can Allen Hurns still outmuscle and outplay defenders in his second year?
There are a lot of question marks at wide receiver for the Jags. Amari Cooper or Kevin White may be the answer. Then again, they may not.
Next: Or the Jags could always go defense....
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