Amari Cooper to represent Oakland Raiders in Pro Bowl

Dec 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) is pursued by Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) on a 26-yard reception during an NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

You know the Raiders are coming out of the Dark Ages when you see a bunch of players going to the Pro Bowl. For a while there, punter Shane Lechler, who’s no longer on the team, was the only Raider in the Pro Bowl. Today, receiver Amari Cooper, who was originally selected as an alternate, replaces New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall.

To get there, Cooper became the first Raiders receiver to go over 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Randy Moss in 2005. He was also the first Raiders rookie to reach 1,000 receiving yards, setting franchise records for receptions and 100-yard games by a rookie with five. Cooper’s 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and six TDs led all NFL rookies in 2015.

He’s also the sixth Raiders rookie to make the Pro Bowl, joining Woodson (1998), Tim Brown (1988), Marcus Allen (1982), Ray Guy (1973) and Raymond Chester (1970). He joins teammates Charles Woodson, Marcel Reece, Khalil Mack and Derek Carr as Pro Bowl selections this year.

The five Pro Bowl selections for the Raiders mark the most for the team since having five in 2002. Cooper is the third Raiders draft pick in the last two years to be named to the Pro Bowl, joining Mack and Carr. And with Woodson back, that’s four of their draft picks going to Pro Bowl.

Last time that happened was 1984 as Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Lester Hayes, Henry Lawrence, Rod Martin made five. The Raiders were perennial contenders then, winning Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983. This was Woodson’s last year in the NFL but the way the Raiders have drafted lately we may see another run like that starting in 2016.

Happy days are here again in Raider Nation!