The last two first round draft picks for the Oakland Raiders have been nominated for two prestigious player awards.
Both have cases that could lead fans, who are responsible for the selection by voting through NFL.com, to select two Raiders players as winners for the first time in team history.
Cooper led all rookies with 72 receptions and 1,070 receiving yards — both team records — and notched five games with at least 100 receiving yards. He became the first rookie with three 100-yard receiving games in his team’s first six games since Mike Ditka in 1961.
Someone get some hoagies going.
Mack, too, built his case late in the year. He sacked Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler five times in the Raiders road win, making clear that the division rivalry was once again a real matchup.
He sacked Osweiler in the end zone and forced a fumble that resulted in a safety, pulling the Raiders within three points with the final few drives approaching.
His five sacks tied the franchise single-game record set by Raiders great Howie Long against Washington in 1983.
It’s certainly a sign that general manager Reggie McKenzie is building a roster chock full of impact talent, which has been noticed around the league.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.