The Dallas Cowboys put the exclamation mark on their commitment to the wide receiver group during the 2020 NFL Draft by taking WR CeeDee Lamb with their initial pick of the first round. With this latest addition, a quick glance at the Dallas depth charts now shows a receiving corp that is quickly shaping up to be a real competitive force. And leading that group? Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Cooper had a very solid year last season for Dallas but will need to see his consistency improve in 2020 if the Cowboys want to produce the high-caliber passing game that they are trying to build.[sv slug=mocksim]
OSM and Amari Cooper
Cooper has been playing in the NFL since being drafted in 2015 but is fairly new to the Cowboys’ roster. He was traded to Dallas by the Oakland Raiders in November of the 2018 season, making last year his first full season as a Cowboy. While he did manage to see some regression in his offensive skill value year over year (an overall OSM grade of 36.86 in 2018 to 32.78 in 2019), he still brought the consistency in 2019 that is a must-have for the top receivers in the NFL.
The Offensive Share Metric (OSM) was created to provide a numerical scale to measure the overall value that an individual player provides to his offensive unit. A player with a higher OSM grade isn’t necessarily a higher skilled player, but they do create more offensive production for their team than a player with a lower OSM.
By the end of the 2019 regular season, there were 93 wide receivers in the NFL that produced enough offense to be ranked on the OSM charts. Cooper’s overall OSM grade of 32.78 placed him directly in the middle of the pack as WR46. For our metrics, any OSM average above 30.00 is considered a Very Good grade. The top NFL receivers will routinely average an OSM in the high-thirties.
Looking at the weekly breakdown of last season, Cooper’s trends and consistency are more apparent on the OSM charts. Cooper performed on the field at a level that was above the league average for receivers in 83% of the games he played in before Dallas’ bye (NFL Week 8). And 71% of his games played after the bye were above the league averages.
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The consistency and reliability trended positively before the bye and ticked down a bit afterward. Cooper created 6.2 OSM points every ten minutes pre-Week 8 before slowing down to 4.6 points post. His bounce rate of x1.6, even after to slowing to x2.2 as the season progressed, was very solid and is seen commonly in the best NFL receivers. His production last year was valuable to the Dallas offense and he was persistent in performing above league averages.
What led to the OSM grades?
Cooper made an appearance in all 16 games for the Cowboys in 2019 and put up some beastly numbers along the way. By the end of the regular season, he had brought in 79 catches for a whopping 1,189 total yards — the eighth highest yardage stat among all 2019 NFL receivers. He also found the end zone on eight different routes, which is tied for the ninth most number of touchdowns for a receiver last year. He had a catch completion of 66.39% and averaged 3.3 yards after the catch.
During Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins, one of Cooper’s three Elite games for last season according to the OSM charts, he caught 85.7% of all passes thrown his way and put up 88 receiving yards finding the end zone twice. He averaged almost 15 yards per reception that week helping to lead the Cowboys to a 31-6 victory.
Just a couple weeks later, Cooper had his second OSM Elite game, this time against Green Bay. He had a monster day, averaging 20.55 yards per reception. By the end of the day, he totaled 226 total receiving yards and a touchdown. One of Cooper’s receptions this week, a 27-yard deep left bomb from quarterback Dak Prescott, made its way onto the NextGen Top Plays of 2019 list for improbable catches.
Amari Cooper in 2020
The Cowboys will be putting emphasis on their passing game this season. Dak Prescott will be playing with a purpose as he still hasn’t come to an agreement with the front office group. Dallas also premieres new head coach Mike McCarthy, who comes from another pass-heavy offensive scheme in Green Bay.
With the lineup of Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb as passing options for Prescott, things are starting to look like a dream on paper. If Cooper can continue his knack for more than solid OSM production and just tighten up the consistency a bit, the Cowboys offense will be really something to watch this season.
Thoughts on this feature? Something you would like to see during the offseason? Follow us on Twitter or join in on the conversation on Facebook. You can also check out my other articles from 2019 and 2020 here.