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4 draft options for the Cowboys who could potentially replace Amari Cooper

If the Cowboys are serious about getting rid of Cooper, could a quality replacement be available in the draft?

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Would the Dallas Cowboys dare move on from Amari Cooper? That is one of the questions we have to entertain as the front office attempts to maintain a roster around the high-priced Dak Prescott. While Cooper is a key part of this offense, he’s also a costly investment at roughly $20 million per season.

Every week Connor Livesay and Mark Schofield discuss all things 2022 NFL Draft on Talkin’ The Draft on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you get access to all of our shows. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

Over the last couple of days, we’ve examined how the team has already shown a willingness to make big roster moves by releasing costly veterans and replacing them with draft picks. Yesterday, we specifically looked at some potential replacements for DeMarcus Lawrence and today we’ll do the same for Cooper.


DRAKE LONDON, USC (cash in on the injury discount)

The Trojan receiver was absolutely killing it this past season as he caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns before a broken ankle ended his season. Injury aside, he’s the type of receiver who could end up being a star in the NFL and we’ll look back at his tape and it would’ve seemed totally obvious.

What to love about him: This 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is going to be a matchup nightmare. On tape, he looks sensational. Not only does he have great size, but he’s an excellent leaper who knows how to position his body and high-point the ball. London is not losing 50/50 battles.

What not to like: It’s hard not to notice that there are so many instances where he is covered. While he’ll beat out defenders on contested passes, he’s just not gaining enough separation. His route-running is still a work in progress as his larger size hinders his lateral quickness.


JAMESON WILLIAMS, ALABAMA

You can’t have a top wide receiver list without including a guy from Alabama. Of course, this Bama player initially was just another one of the Buckeyes as he was stuck behind Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson at Ohio State his first two seasons before transferring to Alabama last year. It was a wise move too as he exploded for a 79-catch, 1,571-yard season where he scored 15 touchdowns. He would be a sure-fire top 10 pick in this draft had he not suffered an ACL injury in the National Championship game.

What to love about him: Williams just blows past defenders and outruns everyone. He’ll beat you and he’ll beat you fast. He’s not only a great route-runner and comes out of breaks like a boss, but his quick acceleration allows him to be a home run threat and YAC monster. When he’s open, he stays open because he has great speed.

What not to like: He has a small frame and doesn’t show much play strength. Press coverage at the NFL level could be an issue. He’s had some concentration drops and can seem a little unnerved making catches in traffic. Clearly, the knee will be a concern, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t make a full recovery.


CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE

Olave has been putting up good numbers for three seasons, and while none of them were stellar years, it shows that he just goes about his business and gets it done. Don’t bet on him to be the best receiver from this draft class, but he’s as safe as a bet as you could make that he becomes a good one at the next level.

What to love about him: In contrast to London, Olave appears always open. He’s a top-notch route-runner with elite separation skills. His route tree is state-of-the-art as he can do just about anything you ask of him. There is nothing flashy about how he plays, but he's smart and his smooth movement enables him to get open on a regular basis. Even in covered space, he still can come away with the catch as he has great concentration.

What not to like: His smaller frame will be a concern when it comes to winning in press coverage. For similar reasons, he won’t offer anything to the offense as a blocker. Olave also doesn’t possess the breakaway speed to run away from defenders.


GARRETT WILSON, OHIO STATE

Wilson isn’t as polished as his teammate Olave or former teammate Williams listed in this grouping, but from a purely athletic perspective, he might be the best of the group.

What to love about him: He’s tough to cover and he’s tough to catch. Wilson is a shifty fella who possesses amazing cutting ability to maneuver his way through traffic. When he gets the ball in his hands, he’s super dangerous. He also does a really good job adjusting to the football to make some rather difficult catches.

What not to like: He isn’t the most fluid route-runner as he’s hit or miss at times. He doesn’t disguise his steps very well which can make it easier for the defense to react. And like the other smaller receivers listed above, he struggles in press coverage.


Close, but no cigar

Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and Penn State’s Jahah Dotson are receivers that could very well come off the board before the Cowboys are up. The reason they are mentioned here is that while this is a good wide receiver class that offers some nice options, not all of these guys should require a first-round investment. Some of these players have more concerning blemishes that may not allow them to step into a WR1 role which is exclusively what we’re looking for here.

While a player like Burks is fun to watch and will be a challenge to bring down, will his lack of route-running fundamentals allow him to be a regular go-to guy in the offense? And a player like Jahan Dotson checks off a lot of boxes and is one of my personal favorites, but his size and play strength could limit what he can do at the next level.

Would you be okay with having one of these players instead of Cooper? If so, which one(s)?