- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- During his annual pre-scouting combine teleconference with reporters all over the country, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock completed a marathon of questions about various players and team needs.
Asked a question about which direction the Oakland Raiders should look with the No. 4 pick, Mayock made a reference to the St. Louis Rams in discussing the need for the Raiders to add at the wide receiver position.
Specifically, Mayock sees a lot of Rams legend Torry Holt in Alabama wideout Amari Cooper.
"I think Cooper from Alabama has got the highest score," Mayock said. "In other words, I think he's the safest pick of that group. Really good route runner, had over 100 catches last year, reminds me of some of those wide outs that played on the Greatest Show on Turf with Dick Vermeil in St. Louis, Torry Holt, for example, that type of wide receiver, whereas the other two, Kevin White and Devante Parker, are bigger bodied guys where you can throw it up and they can win jump balls. I would imagine that one of those three guys are going to be their pick, and I think any one of the three could be highly productive."
In many ways, the comparison between Cooper and Holt is easy to see. Cooper is listed at 6-foot-1, 203 pounds. Holt was listed at 6 feet, 200 pounds. Last spring, Cooper purportedly ran multiple 40-yard dash times just a shade under 4.4 seconds (unofficially). Holt clocked his 40-yard dash at 4.38 seconds.
Of course, Cooper has a lot of proving to do in the NFL to live up to the lofty standards Holt set in his time with the Rams. Holt was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, was first team All Pro in 2003 and second team in 2006. For his career, Holt finished with 920 catches for 13,382 yards and 74 touchdowns. He also holds the NFL records for most consecutive seasons with 90 catches and 1,300 receiving yards, marks he hit six straight times in the early 2000s. He's one of only three receivers, along with Marvin Harrison and Calvin Johnson to have two or more seasons with 1,600 receiving yards. He also holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a decade, posting 12,594 from 2000 to 2009. His career average of 77.4 receiving yards per game is sixth all-time but No. 1 amongst players who aren't still active.
Considering the Rams haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver (or even one to exceed Kenny Britt's 748 this year) since Holt in 2008, it's understandable if some would like to see them use the No. 10 overall pick on a player like Cooper. It's unlikely the Rams will target another receiver, however, especially if they re-sign Britt, because they have more pressing needs.
Cooper would have to be a tempting option if he did somehow manage to slip to No. 10 and appealing offensive line and quarterback options are off the board. But if Cooper really does compare favorably to Holt in the eyes of NFL teams, it's unlikely that option will materialize.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock sees a lot of Rams legend Torry Holt in Alabama wideout Amari Cooper.