About seven weeks ago head coach of the Oakland Raiders Jon Gruden let it be known to the media that Amari Cooper was not really in the future plans of the franchise. At that point in time, Cooper had been really struggling. He was having a career-worst season, even when coming off of a down season the year prior. It was obvious that a change needed to be made and made quickly. Then came Jerry Jones. He offered the Raiders a first round pick for Cooper and the sports world was a bit puzzled. It was a steep asking price for a player who hadn't really been playing great but Jones and the Cowboys were confident in Cooper's skills. And looking back at the trade, it was an absolute steal.
Since the trade Coopers change in production has been night and day. With the Raiders, Cooper had just 22 receptions for 280 yards and a single touchdown. But in Dallas Cooper has caught 40 passes for 642 yards and six touchdowns. Oh, and by the way, the Cowboys have won 5 straight games since Cooper joined the team, and are in first place in the NFC East. It looks like all of those takes about how Cooper was washed up haven't aged well. I'll be the first to say that I may have been one of these people.
Amari Cooper Insane Game-Winning Deflection Catch | Eagles vs. Cowboys | NFL YouTube
Regardless, if you were to ask me if I was surprised that Cooper was capable of this kind of impact on a team I would answer that question with a resounding no. I've known that Amari Cooper had the potential to be great for years.
Just look back at his career here at Alabama. Cooper started as a true freshman at a time where Nick Saban's teams were riddled with upperclassman and nearly every freshman that came in surely had to redshirt. But not Cooper he came right in and made a huge impact. He was able to add balance to an Alabama offense that was extremely run heavy. He had 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman and came up huge in the SEC championship with a late go-ahead touchdown. But his big moments did stop there.
As a junior Cooper broke records. He has 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns all of which are school records. Cooper also had a monster game against Auburn in the Iron Bowl that year, when he helped lead a second-half comeback with just stupid numbers. 13 catches for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns. It might have been the greatest performance I've ever seen by a receiver at any level.
So if you've paid any attention to Alabama football over the last couple of seasons, you aren't really surprised at how Cooper has been able to light the league on fire.