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Raiders receiver Amari Cooper catches Jets' attention

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, center, changes

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, center, changes direction en route to a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, in San Diego. Photo Credit: AP / Denis Poroy

He's "special." He's a "demon." And, according to Brandon Marshall, he's a "stud muffin" too.

Amari Cooper has it all. And for that reason, the Raiders' rookie receiver might be the toughest matchup to date for the Jets and Darrelle Revis.

"He's not your typical rookie receiver," Dee Milliner said. "You're probably going to think he's in Year 3 or 4 because of how crisp he is in his routes and how he's going to attack it going after the ball."

Milliner would know. He and Cooper were a part of Alabama's championship team when the Crimson Tide crushed Notre Dame, 42-14, in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013.

As Milliner sat at his locker after Thursday's practice, he recalled Alabama's SEC Championship Game win over Georgia in December 2012 -- a 32-28 victory capped by Cooper's game-winning 45-yard touchdown catch with 3:15 to play.

"You know he's going to get double- or triple-teamed and he just finds a way to catch the ball," Milliner of his college buddy.

Despite his age, Cooper, 21, already is turning heads on the NFL stage. Through the Raiders' first six games, he's caught 33 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns.

In comparison, Marshall, a 10-year veteran, has 41 catches for 578 yards and four TDs.

"I've been a fan of Amari Cooper since college. He's a stud. He's a stud muffin," Marshall said this past week, adding that Cooper is a cross between Chad Johnson and A.J. Green.

". . . I don't even know how to explain this guy,'' Marshall said. "I've never really seen this type of player before."

Cooper is an NFL star in the making. But the question is: Can Revis contain him?

"Most definitely," Milliner said. "He has the ability to do that. It's going to be a good matchup. Both of them are crafty at what they do, so it's going to be a good game."

The Jets (4-2) need a bounce-back win after last week's defeat in New England and the Raiders (3-3) are looking to ride the momentum of their 37-29 upset of the San Diego Chargers. Sunday's game at Coliseum will pit Oakland's young upstarts against the Jets' savvy vets. But experience might not necessarily be an edge.

"Yeah, we've seen everything, but you can't take anybody lightly," cornerback Buster Skrine said. "And they're a good team. I think they're better than their record right now. Their team is playing like vets right now."

Raiders second-year quarterback Derek Carr appears to be coming into his own.

He was 24-for-37 for 289 yards and three touchdowns (plus no turnovers) last week against the Chargers. He appears to be much improved since his last meeting with the Jets, in Week 1 last season, when he threw mostly short passes against Rex Ryan's defense and finished 20-for-32 for 151 yards and two touchdowns in a 19-14 win.

"He's a lot more poised this year than last year," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "He's always had the arm talent. He could always run. He can make all the throws. I think he's doing a heck of a job directing the offense right now."

Meanwhile, Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack is making a name for himself in Year 2.

"I think he's one of the more talented guys in terms of his size and athleticism in the league," Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said of the former University of Buffalo star.

But as well as Carr and Mack have played, much of the talk has been about Cooper, who not only is a deep threat but a receiver who can produce plenty of yards after the catch.

"He's a special athlete. There's no doubt about it," Milliner said of Cooper, whom the Jets interviewed at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. "He's got all-around game. He can do the short plays and he's got the speed and ability to go downfield and catch the balls up top."

Skrine highlighted Cooper's vision and Milliner touted his former teammate's dedication to his craft. "I know he's probably doing all the extra work that he needs to get to a different level than anybody else. That's just a thing that he does. That's him," Milliner said.

Bowles also raved about Cooper's route-running ability and his "great hands."

"He's everything as advertised," he said. "He's smart, he's quiet, he's humble, but on the field, he plays like a demon."

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