Amari Cooper believes he’s the NFL’s best wide receiver.
Numbers say otherwise, and the Dallas Cowboy knows it, but on Monday, Cooper intimated that it could just be a matter of time before perception catches up with reality — at least, his reality.
“I think I’m the best receiver in the league,” he said Monday, per the Dallas Morning News. “But there’s a difference between thinking you’re the best and actually going out there and proving it. Do I think I’m the best? Yes. Have I proven it? I wouldn’t say I have.”
Indeed, nine NFL wide receivers had more receptions last season than Cooper’s 92. Eleven had more yards than Cooper’s 1,114, and dozens had more TD catches than Cooper’s five. Then again, how many of them lost a quarterback like Dak Prescott in the fifth game of the season? How many of them share the ball with a rusher like Ezekiel Elliott, who’s led the NFL in carries in two of the last five years? Being in the right situation at the right time can make a big difference where statistics are concerned, and that’s where Cooper draws the confidence to make the claim.
“There are guys who have actually put up some great numbers. They’ve taken advantage of their opportunities and stuff like that,” Cooper added. “I’m just still trying to take advantage of my opportunities and trying to put up those numbers to lead the league in yards, touchdowns, all across the board, really. Only after I’ve done that will I say I’m the best and that I’ve proven myself to be the best.”
The good news: Prescott is back, which means Cooper not only has a top-notch passer to work with, but one whose mobility can extend plays and give Cooper additional time to separate. That still might not be enough to put up numbers with the likes of Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill or DK Metcalf — after all, Elliott will still get plenty to eat from the backfield.
But Cooper, trimmer this season at 215 pounds, is clearly feeling good about himself entering 2021.
And setting the highest of goals.
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