It's not really much of a surprise that Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio expects first-round pick, wide receiver Amari Cooper, to start from Day One in the NFL.
Cooper was widely viewed throughout the pre-draft process as the most NFL-ready receiver available and the player with possibly the highest floor in the entire NFL rookie meat market.
"I would just say that when you talk about this young man coming in at this level, as a draft prospect that has not played in the NFL yet, it's unusual when words like 'polished' are thrown out, but that's what you see," Del Rio said immediately after the selection, via Raiders.com.
Young Raiders franchise quarterback Derek Carr desperately needs weapons to help him along in his growth and development and Cooper should be able to provide the type of presence to grow alongside Carr from the instant he steps onto the field.
What is surprising is that Del Rio, speaking to the NFL Network recently, said that he believes that not only should Cooper start, but the team's second, third and fourth-round picks, Mario Edwards Jr., Clive Walford and Jon Feliciano, should start from Day One as well.
"We'll see, they'll earn it. We feel like certainly the first four guys are starter-quality guys," said Del Rio.
Edwards, who Del Rio said suffered from a case of "senioritis" during his final season at Florida State, entered the NFL to questions about his work ethic and weight - the 6-foot-3 Edwards showed up at his Pro Day weighing 272 pounds, but had ballooned to 310 in August, causing some concern over his most natural NFL position.
Luckily, Edwards will be afforded the opportunity to play under his former Seminoles position coach, Sal Sunseri, as a member of the Raiders.
"My two years when he was there were great," Edwards said. "I learned so much from him and we developed a great relationship and now to go back and play under him again is definitely an honor."
Also luckily for Edwards, the Raiders seem to have a need both at defensive tackle and end - Justin Tuck is no spring chicken and CJ Wilson seems better suited to a back-up role - so with his frame, Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. should be able to mold the athletic Edwards in any manner they choose.
Walford, one of the few bright spots in a bad tight end draft class, also seems to face little in the way of opposition in his march to a starting spot - Mychal Rivera, who nabbed 58 receptions last year, currently sits atop the depth chart. After the team missed out on an addition in free agency - Jermaine Gresham probably would have joined Oakland were it not for a back issue discovered by the Raiders medical team - little in the way of pass-catching talent remains on the roster at tight end beyond Rivera.
Walford is confident that he'll ease the concerns of Raiders fans everywhere, though he may have to change his thinking - at least partially.
"I can hop for the ball. I'm a great pass-catcher. I'm a great run-blocker. I'm just a dual-threat tight end," Walford said. "I'm going to go out to Oakland and just compete. I'm not looking to go start right away. I'm going out there to learn from the veterans and take some of their advice, but you know I'm going to compete at the same time."
A starting spot is there, per your head coach, Clive - time to get to work.
As for Feliciano, his versatility seems to be his biggest asset and the surest avenue through which he can find playing time from the outset of his NFL career. Gabe Jackson and Khalif Barnes are the de facto starters at guard right now, but the opportunity is certainly there for Feliciano to take over a starting spot or at least operate as a top back-up during his rookie NFL season.