<
>

Mailbag: Does Amari Cooper have a hands' problem?

Weekend mail call:

Bill Williamson: Yes, it was noticeable that first-round pick Amari Cooper had some drops during the June 9-11 minicamp. Is it a concern heading into training camp? I'd say no. Cooper, the No. 4 overall draft pick out of Alabama, didn't have a lot of drops during organized team activities and he didn't have big drop problems in college. In fact, he had an SEC-record 124 catches last year. The kid is sure handed until he proves otherwise. If the drops become an issue in training camp, then the Raiders may have to worry about it. Until then, it's nothing to be concerned about. BW: That was certainly the plan. Oakland focused on stopping the run when they signed defensive tackle Dan Williams, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Nate Allen in free agency. They are middle-of-the-field players who specialize against the run. The only defensive player drafted who has a chance to start right away is defensive end Mario Edwards, who the Raiders took in the second round. He is considered to be better against the run than the pass. So, it is clear Oakland concentrated on getting tougher on the ground in the first offseason under defensive specialist head coach Jack Del Rio. Oakland was ranked 22nd in the NFL against the run, allowing 119.4 yards a game. BW: Clive Walford was outstanding. The third-round pick from Miami was terrific during OTAs and in the minicamps. The tight end stretched the field. He showed terrific hands and speed, especially for a big man. If Walford continues to shine in training camp, I'd expect him to beat out third-year incumbent Mychal Rivera for the starting job. Walford appears to be more dynamic than Rivers and he looks like he can make an immediate impact on the offense.