After playing two games with the Dallas Cowboys. the case can be made that Amari Cooper is a player that is worth a first-round draft pick. His quality merits that level of payment.
As true as this might be, it’s also true that paying a premium price like that is never a fun thing to do no matter how the player performs. Having Amari Cooper on the Cowboys is something we’re all enjoying, but it’s hard not to think about next year’s draft at the same time.
Focusing on the here and now, Cooper is not only living up to the price paid as far as what he’s done individually, but he’s helping out the entire Cowboys offense. It’s easy to see how players like Michael Gallup (who had a huge third-down conversion) and Allen Hurns are benefiting from a big-time receiver drawing coverage away from them.
Dak Prescott has had his most accurate games of the season since Amari arrived
The most important person for Cooper to aid is undoubtedly quarterback Dak Prescott. While the jury is still out on whether Prescott is a franchise quarterback or not, it’s essential that the Cowboys give him every opportunity to succeed so they can know for sure before they pay him big-time money.
Cooper’s first game for the Cowboys was against the Tennessee Titans a week and a half ago. From a completion percentage standpoint, it immediately was Prescott’s best performance on the year. His next best performance came in literally the game after when the Cowboys beat the Eagles.
Dak Prescott 2018 Completion Percentage:
|2||New York Giants||64.00%|
Overall Prescott has seen an increase in accuracy since Amari Cooper arrived, and it’s not hard to see why. The way that Cooper has been able to separate on a continual basis (granted we’re talking about two games here) is something that any quarterback would love to have.
Accuracy isn’t the end-all-be-all statistic in the NFL, but it can be quite telling. Consider how much more accurate Dak Prescott has been with each of his targets since Cooper arrived. That’s where the real difference has been made.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy By Target Before And After Amari Cooper:
|Target||Before Amari||After Amari|
Prescott has had higher success rates with literally all of the Cowboys’ top five targets this season since Cooper arrived. Ironically, one of the lowest completion percentages “After Amari” is to Amari himself at 61.1%.
This is exactly why the Cowboys spent that first-round pick on Cooper. What he’s able to do individually alone is dangerous to have in their offense, but he’s making things easier for everyone else. It’s the effect of a true and indisputable number one wide receiver.
The most important measure of success in many eyes is the one on the scoreboard at the end of games. Dallas has split their two games in the Cooper era, but they won the far more important one in Philadelphia where Amari made plays like this.
It's good to have Young Dez back home again... pic.twitter.com/IDfsZxagJf— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) November 13, 2018
This has been a discussion of accuracy, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to mention that third down conversions are up substantially with number 19 on the field.
Cowboys 3rd down conversion rate pre-Amari Cooper:— Michael Strawn (@LifeInCharts) November 12, 2018
29-of-91 (31.8%) - 28th in the NFL
Cowboys 3rd down conversion rate post-Amari Cooper:
13-of-27 (48.1%) - 4th in the NFL.
Apparently a legit #1 WR makes a difference. pic.twitter.com/3n5WGRbFhD
Everything is better with Amari Cooper around. Nice.