Dallas Cowboys

What about Amari Cooper makes him worth a first-round pick to Jason Garrett?

Amari Cooper: ‘You don’t want the leader of your offense to go down’

Amari Cooper reflects on quarterback Derek Carr, who was was injured on a play against the Colts Saturday.
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Amari Cooper reflects on quarterback Derek Carr, who was was injured on a play against the Colts Saturday.

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett explained his team’s decision to give up a first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for receiver Amari Cooper on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday morning.

“Well, obviously it’s a big decision,” Garrett said. “We talked about it a lot, at all levels of our organization. I do believe we’ve done a good job selecting guys in the first round and they’re cornerstone players on our team. And we really believe that Amari can be that kind of a guy.

“Again he’s 24 years old. He has a lot of ability to play his position. We believe he’s the right kind of guy. We think he has a bright future. The value for a player like that at his age, that’s really what it costs you. It costs you a first-round pick.”

The Cowboys are 3-4 coming off Sundays 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.

It appears to be a desperation move after the Cowboys passed on former Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft last April to take linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who they selected 19th overall. It also seems to be an admission that the receiver-by-committee approach following the release of Dez Bryant was a failure.

Garrett said getting Cooper was worth the pick because he is better than any receiver in the upcoming draft. Ridley and Cooper are the same age and the Cowboys don’t need to wait on Cooper to develop. He is ready to have an immediate impact.

“If we were to get him in the draft next spring, you would say: ‘Boy, is there any receiver who is as good as a guy like Amari Cooper?’ ” Garrett continued. “He’s not 28, 29, 30. You’re not paying for a guy for what he’s done for the past six, seven, eight years for another team. We feel like he has it in front of him and he can really benefit our team going forward.”

Cooper, picked fourth overall in 2015 out of Alabama, is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has had over 1,000 yards receiving his first two years. But he struggled in 2017 and caught just 22 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown through six games in 2018.

Garrett believes Cooper can help the Cowboys, who have the NFL’s 29th-ranked passing offense at just 183.1 yards per game.

“Your numbers can be a function of what the environment is and how the team is playing in general,” Garrett said. “He’s not a perfect player, nobody is. There are certainly areas where he can improve. But there are so many positives about him.”

Garrett said Cooper will be at the Cowboys headquarters at The Star Tuesday afternoon and start practicing with the team on Wednesday.

He said the Cowboys have the benefit of this week’s bye to help him learn the offense. The Cowboys don’t play again until Nov. 5 at home against the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s going to require overtime by him, by the coaches, to get him going,” Garrett said. “But we do benefit from having the bye and having a few extra days.”

Clarence E. Hill Jr. :@clarencehilljr
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