Last week, right before the trade deadline, the Cowboys finally made a move to get their No. 1 wide receiver, turning a first-round pick into Amari Cooper. It came to be a surprise to many people that the Cowboys decided to give up a first round pick for him since this year and last year have been, well, in the gutter. So, maybe the Cowboys were a little too aggressive with the first-round pick, but why not take a shot when your division is still wide open?
There’s still the talk about, “Oh, you could’ve gotten someone better in the draft.” Well, maybe you could’ve set yourself up better with a nice draft pick, but it’s not like Amari Cooper isn’t still a talented kid. Let’s not forget his first two seasons he made the Pro Bowl and finished with more than 1,000 receiving yards. So far, there has been nothing but good things coming from the Cowboys’ locker room about Cooper, and I’m excited to see what he’s going to bring to this team.
There have been a lot of the questions about Cooper’s drops and his consistency, but is he really all to blame? Looking at just this year, so far over the course of his six games in Oakland, his targets went from 3 to 10 to 5 to 12 to 1 to 1. Now, he only has 220 receiving yards on about 20 catches, but in both of those games with 10+ targets, he went for more than 100 yards. From the way I look at this year, he just wasn’t meant to be in Oakland. Gruden said he wanted to get the offense to revolve around him more—well sir, excuse me, but how the fuck do you expect to have an offense revolve around someone you’re not even going to throw the ball to more than 4 times a game?! Gruden gave up on Cooper too quickly. He came in and made some testy moves that, ultimately, have come back to bite him in the ass. Even though he may have won the trade, he still didn’t use Cooper to his full potential—unlike he said he was going to. Cooper is someone who needs volume in order to perform. He’s not the type of guy you can target 5-6 times a game because he can actually do more than you think.
The Cowboys are going to want to get the best out of him, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. They talked about how much they watched film on him and studied his game before making the final decision on him. The one thing I expect the Cowboys to do is to create plays in which he can perform. In order to do that, they’re going to have to find what he’s most comfortable with and make some adjustments to accommodate that. That’s going to put him in the best position to make plays. That’s one thing Gruden didn’t do with Cooper, he expected to throw him out there as the main option in the offense and see what he could do. But you’re not going to get the best out of him unless you go back and look at those first two seasons, watch what plays he’s becoming successful in, and try to bring more like that to your offense.
Look for Cooper to start bouncing back in these next couple weeks. You never know, maybe at the end of the season, the first-round pick may not look too bad for Cooper.