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Ex-Tide star Amari Cooper leads former SEC standouts in NFL Week 8

Amari Cooper
Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Amari Cooper continues to prove he is one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL. The former Alabama All-American and Oakland Raiders star caught 12 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown in his team’s 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Per CBSSports.com, Cooper is on pace to finish the season with 104 receptions for 1,574 yards. Those totals would have ranked eighth and third, respectively, in the NFL last season. Not bad for a second-year pro.

With Cooper, the Raiders’ offense is starting to establish itself as one of the best in the league and Oakland is proving to be a solid playoff contender under coach Jack Del Rio. The fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Cooper went into the game with only one touchdown on the season.

Last season, Cooper made the NFL’s All-Rookie team and was a Pro Bowl selection. While in Tuscaloosa, he was a unanimous All-American in 2014 and a first-team All-SEC selection; he also won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver. He played on SEC championship teams in 2012 and ’14 and was part of the BCS national championship team in 2012.

Here are a few more performances by former SEC stars that grabbed everyone’s attention.

Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans: The former Alabama running back ran for 60 yards and scored the first touchdown of his NFL career as the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 36-22 on Thursday night.

Jay Cutler, quarterback, Chicago Bears: The former Vanderbilt star helped Chicago upset Minnesota 20-10 on Monday night. Cutler, who was a first-round pick in 2006 by Denver, threw for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Jeremy Hill, running back, Cincinnati Bengals: Hill, who played at LSU, ran for 76 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals as they played to a 27-27 tie with the Washington Redskins in London.

A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals:– Green may be the best wide receiver in the AFC this season. The former Georgia standout caught nine passes for 121 yards in the Bengals’ 27-27 tie with Washington.

Dee Ford, linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs: Ford had 3.5 sacks on Sunday in the Chiefs’ 30-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Ford, a first-round pick in 2014 out of Auburn, has seven sacks this season.

Kwon Alexander, linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alexander, the Bucs’ fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2015, had 14 solo tackles in the team’s 30-24 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Mike Gillislee, running back, Buffalo Bills: Gillislee, a former Florida standout, ran for 85 yards and a touchdown Sunday in the Bills’ 41-25 loss to the New England Patriots. He is in his third season and originally was a fifth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins.

Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys: – The rookie from Mississippi State continues to prove he is the best first-year passer in the NFL. Prescott threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 38 yards in the Cowboys’ 29-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Keanu Neal, safety, Atlanta Falcons: He had eight tackles to lead his team in a 33-32 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Neal was the Falcons’ first-round pick out of Florida.

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