When the Dallas Cowboys started their 2018 season there were a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball. Despite having a returning quarterback in Dak Prescott and an elite running back in Ezekiel Elliott, there was something missing from this team.
The Cowboys were preparing to enter the 2018 campaign without wide receiver Dez Bryant as a starting receiver for the first time since 2009. So who would rise to the occasion and become Prescott’s No. 1 target. The Cowboys somewhat addressed this in that year’s draft when they picked Michael Gallup in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The team was prepared to start week one with Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, the aforementioned Gallup, Deonte Thompson, and a declining Terrance Williams. There was no clear cut number one receiver. This was going to be a wide receiver by committee approach and the Cowboys quickly found out this was the wrong route to take, pun intended.
After starting the season 3-4, the Cowboys had to make a move. Jerry Jones decided to pull the trigger and get the help his franchise quarterback would need when he traded the Cowboys 2019 first-round pick to the then, Oakland Raiders for wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Cooper’s first game as a member of the Dallas Cowboys came in November of that season and immediately showed the world why he was worth a first-round pick when he caught a touchdown pass from Prescott early in the contest against the Tennessee Titans. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they dropped that game too and fell to 3-5 at the halfway point of the season.
Believe it or not, Cooper and Prescott developed a strong relationship on the field and Cooper was able to finish 2018 with 7 total touchdowns (6 of them with Dallas), and racked up over 1,000 yards receiving with 1,005. The Cowboys fell short in the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams but of all people, Cooper was able to find the end zone on a 29 yard catch-and-run. He finished with six catches for 65 yards.
2019 came with high expectations. Cooper had played nine games with the Cowboys in 2018 along with two playoff games. Now, with a full training camp and pre-season, the morale was high amongst Cowboys nation as they entered this season with Cooper, Gallup, and made an under the radar free agency pick up in wide receiver Randal Cobb. Prescott was equipped with three star receivers and a returning leader in tight end Jason Witten.
The 2019 Cowboys started strong. Very strong. So strong that the fans across the nation were trying to book their tickets to Miami because it was a foregone conclusion that the Cowboys were Super Bowl contenders. Cooper started the year with electrifying statistics. Over the 3-0 start, Cooper had 16 catches on 21 targets, 234 yards and 4 touchdowns. Things were rolling for the 2019 Cowboys and already knowing that this was a contract year for Cooper, he was going to earn every cent.
After the hot start, things cooled off for Dallas. A low scoring loss at New Orleans, a massive shoot out loss to the Green Bay Packers, and an embarrassing loss to the New York Jets in MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys were 3-3 now but Cooper kept his end of the bargain. After six games, Cooper had 515 yards receiving with five touchdowns. Cooper wound up hurting his knee earlier in the Jets game and didn’t see any action passed the first series.
Cooper didn’t miss any time with the injury and continued his red hot start to the season with 106 yards on five catches in a blowout win over Philadelphia. Unfortunately after the Cowboys dropped a game to the Minnesota Vikings in which Cooper had 147 yards and a touchdown, Cooper would never see another 100 yard game in 2019.
Some questioned his dedication. Some questioned if he “showed up” in big spots. Some even said he went missing in a possible division clinching game against the Eagles in week 16. Cooper has always let his stats back up his play as he finished the 2019 campaign with 1,189 yards on 79 catches and 8 touchdowns.
From a scoring standpoint, sure, his numbers could have been better. The Cowboys as a whole could have been better. The leadership from the sidelines could have included Cooper in more pivotal roles. Cooper deserved more recognition for 2019.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some predictions for Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper during the 2020 NFL season.