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Is CeeDee Lamb Really an Upgrade Over Amari Cooper?

Arguably the most prominent move Dallas made this was trading wide receiver , its WR1 in the past three-and-a-half seasons, to the for just a fifth-round pick (plus a swap of sixth-rounders).

The left CeeDee Lamb as the prime candidate to become the ’ new WR1. If you ask Dallas’ owner, president and , Jerry Jones, he’d say that’s an upgrade.

Back on Friday, Jones told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram precisely that, citing his “production, in the huddle and off the field” as reasons why Lamb is an improvement over Cooper. What he said shocked many, with the majority chalking it down to just another crazy Jerry Jones moment.

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter: “Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones calls CeeDee Lamb a No. 1 WR upgrade over Amari Cooper https://t.co/nQFdr9Ns6C / Twitter”

’ Jerry Jones calls CeeDee Lamb a No. 1 WR upgrade over Amari Cooper https://t.co/nQFdr9Ns6C

But does Jones have a point?

From a statistical standpoint, Lamb and Cooper were about even in 2021. The sophomore from Oklahoma caught 79 passes for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns compared to 68 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns for Cooper. Both played about the same amount of games, too, with Cooper’s 15 just ones less than Lamb’s 16.

Lamb’s 13.9 yards per catch and 441 yards after catch trumped Cooper’s 12.7 yards per catch and 235 yards per catch, but Cooper recorded a 116.9 passer rating when targeted, compared to just 91.0 for Lamb. Lamb also finished seventh in the league with  eight drops, while Cooper dropped just three passes last season.

Both had similar years in 2021. Lamb was even Dallas’ de facto WR1 when Cooper missed two games due to testing positive for . However, he does have sizable shoes to fill. Cooper was the Cowboys’ proven WR1, and Dallas’ decision to trade him for scraps left many scratching their heads.

Dak Prescott performed better statistically with Cooper on the field. He completed 67.9 percent of his passes with a 102.9 passer rating with Cooper compared to a 63.5 completion percentage and an 86.1 passer rating without him. During his time in Dallas, its was weaker without his presence.

While Lamb was the unquestioned WR1 at Oklahoma, he’s yet to prove he can be a suitable WR1 in the NFL. This season, he’ll get his first opportunity. Prescott and Lamb are already trying to form a true QB to WR1 connection. Their lockers are now next to each other, with Prescott declaring Lamb “the guy” to be Dallas’ new leading receiver on Friday.

Whether you agree with Jones’ take or not, Lamb has shown nothing but an upward trend, coming off his first selection last season. In 2022, he’ll get a majority of the targets and has a chance to break out as one of the NFL’s elite receivers. Lamb can definitely become the “upgrade” over Cooper that Jones thinks he is. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see.

If Lamb continues to improve and build on his success, he’ll prove Jones right.

https://.com/PFF/status/1449885853417885700

What do you think?

Nick Coppola

Written by Nick Coppola

Student at the University of Oklahoma. Reporter for OU Daily. Junior Writer for Inside The Star. Contributor for Guns Up Nation.

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10 Comments

  1. Cooper AND Lamb are better than Cooper or Lamb, regardless of who is better. That is the no spin reality. The Cowboys made a HUGE mistake with Zeke Elliot’s contract, which is why they have been dumping really valuable players like Cooper.

    • I think the real problem was the 2021 salary cap. It was significantly less as it went down for the first time from VOVID, and the cap is well below where it was anticipated to be this year, 2022. That is the problem with riding on the edge of the cap, but it had never gone down before.

      And while the rest of the world has decided the RB position is interchangeable, a theroy I do not believe, the Cowboys are hard pressed to make that leap, since they won 3 superbowls with Emmitt and a balanced offense (I Know, that was a few years ago), but I still believe ball control is not a bad thing when Icing games in the 3rd and 4th quarter! A great run game can still create a great team. There are surely many ways to win Super bowl titles.

      Amari was let go for several reasons, I dont agree with them all, but it was handled so poorly by the Jethros, and that is what hurts. No way yoy should onky get a fidth round pick for Amari Cooper. He made the Cowbiys so much better, most of the time.

  2. Last 2 years Coop has played 70% outside vs number one CB’s with safety help over the top, which allowed Ceedee to play 70% in the slot 1 on 1 vs #2 and #3 CB’s, LB’s and safeties. Meanwhile Coop still averaged more WR separation, had more TD’s and less drops lol. Dak had a better passer rtg and total QBR when targeting Coop as appose to Ceedee. Physically?? Coop 4.3-4-4 speed. Elite top 3 route runner. Among fewest drops in the NFL the past 2 years. Ceedee 4.5 speed, average route runner. Lead the team and was top 5 in the NFL in drops the past 2 years.

  3. Cooper was clearly extremely valuable to the Win column and offensive confidence, regardless of how you want to slice the stats. CeeDee is not yet better than Cooper.
    Actually, my suspicion has been that Gallup was becoming better than both of them as he developed. He was undertargeted. Unfortunately, he will be limited after his injury and not be back to 100% and his progress may be slowed and ceiling lowered.

    As the first respondent alluded, perhaps we will have to consider the WR tandem or group. Will the CeeDee led WR group be more productive overall than when led by Cooper. Will CeeDee grab the defensive attention and provide the leadership that allows the others to contribute in a large way also?

  4. No! Not at this point in his career but once he learns the game better then maybe! Hope it’s like two trees that are growing beside each other once you removed one the other takes off and grows taller and bigger! Only time will tell!!

  5. Y’all overrate Amari like he was a prime Dez Bryant or Terrell Owens. Big deal he’s a number 1 wr who’s averaged 74 catches/ 1,011 yards/ 7 td’s a season for his career. Very good WR who isn’t top 10. How could he be top 10 when he’s never even placed in the top 10 in any receiving category. Y’all are smokin some powerful stuff to think Amari is some Hall Of Fame shoe in. If he was worth the 20 million don’t you think the Washington football team would have traded for him? They offered him 25 per year before he resigned with the Cowboys. Then after 2 years they don’t even want him for 20 nor did anyone else but the Browns. Amari isn’t even a top 50 WR of all-time at this point so not sure why everyone’s crying about this. Watch the film, he quits on plays and isn’t a good example/ presence for the other wr’s in the room. The way Amar goes 75% when he knows the ball is going elsewhere is truly pathetic, and like tipping off plays to the opposing defense. I don’t want players like that on my team and neither did 30 other teams.

    • I’m betting Cooper was happy to get out of Dallas. Not saying his situation will be much better in Cleveland, but in Dallas he had a QB that is a checkdown ace and couldn’t get him the ball on a consistent basis. He did his part, the QB is the one that should have been sent to Cleveland.

    • Since 2015 Coop is top 10 in WR catches, yds and TD’s. Since 2018 Coop is 7th in catches and 9th in both yds and TD’s. Since 2018 Coop is the 2nd most doubled covered WR behind only Devante Adams and he’s 2nd to only Devante Adams in go ahead TD’s. Since 2015 only 5 WR’s have at least 7,000 yds, 500 catches and 45 TD’s: Devante Adams, Mike Evans, Stephon Diggs, Deandre Hopkins and AMARI COOPER. Meanwhile Coop is the only WR that has never finished top 10 in WR targets like other number one WR’s do yearly. NOW KEEP BLINDLY HATING

  6. If he stays healthy, he’s better than Amari just through availability. My biggest issues with Amari was him always “nursing” some injury. There were games where, yeah, he played, but was noticeably limited or just going through the motions. So limited that he wasn’t even an effective “decoy” anymore. Then there were all the away games where he’d practically disappear.

    I honestly think Amari has serious, chronic issues with his lower legs. That’s likely only going to get worse going forward. Not a good situation when his playing style is predicated on sharp cuts and superior route running. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he retires before he turns 30. He’s obviously extremely intelligent. And, his heart doesn’t seem to be as invested in playing football as some players are. Another season or two with more foot problems, and he likely hangs them up and puts his mind towards something more mentally challenging and less physically destructive to his well-being.

    • Meanwhile Coop hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2017. If his heart and dedication isn’t invested then why did Coop continue playing every week after getting bruised ribs in week one???? Why did Coop battle a hamstring injury last year but continued to play and literally won the game vs the Vikings with a back up QB????? In 2019 why did Coop play the entire season with ankle, knee and thigh injuris but still put up 1,100 yds and made the Pro Bowl????

      If Coop wasn’t a good decoy why is he the 2nd most doubled covered WR behind only Devante Adams since 2018???? Why did every Ceedee TD and big catch vs the Patriots happen vs the Patriots number 2 CB Jalen Mills while Coop was followed by Patriots number one and top 5 NFL CB J. C. Jackson with safety help over the top????

      You dudes don’t know nothing about football SMDH

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