Top WR Prospects Cowboys Must Prioritize to Replace Amari Cooper

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2022

Top WR Prospects Cowboys Must Prioritize to Replace Amari Cooper

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    What was once a stacked group of wide receivers for Dak Prescott will now need to be addressed through the 2022 NFL draft. 

    The Dallas Cowboys had one of the deepest receiver groups in the NFL over the last two seasons. When healthy, the combination of CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson was a four-man group that was among the best in the league. 

    Now, Cooper has been traded, Gallup is recovering from an injury, and Wilson is off to South Beach to play for the Miami Dolphins

    Dallas brought in James Washington to provide another vertical threat, but it's likely the Cowboys will turn to the draft to replace Cooper at some point. 

    Here's a look at two first-round targets and a Day 2 option to replace some of the production they are losing in Cooper. 

Round 1: Chris Olave, Ohio State

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    Amari Cooper's best trait was his elite route-running and ability to create separation. If the Cowboys are looking for another receiver with the fancy footwork to lose defenders in his routes, then Chris Olave (scouting report) should be at the top of their list. 

    The 21-year-old enters the draft with a great resume from his time at Ohio State. He broke out as a sophomore with 840 yards and 12 touchdowns as a deep threat who could take the top off of a defense. What's most impressive is how well-rounded his game has become since then. 

    While Olave averaged 17.5 yards per reception and primarily made hay on deep routes, he established himself as a great route-runner and versatile receiver over the next two seasons. He had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

    Despite his size (6'0", 187 pounds), he isn't strictly a slot receiver. According to his PFF draft profile, he actually played 347 snaps on the outside to just 79 in the slot. 

    Olave's athleticism and ability to work all over the field would pair well with CeeDee Lamb. 

Round 1: Treylon Burks, Arkansas

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    If route-running is not at the top of the priority list, Treylon Burks (scouting report) could be a great option to replace Cooper. The 6'2" 225-pound receiver has a running back build, and it shows when he has the ball in his hands. 

    The 22-year-old isn't a route-running maestro at this point. Per Austin Gayle of PFF, 40 percent of his catches came within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Instead, a lot of his work at Arkansas came from screens and spot routes that allowed him to create yards after the catch. 

    Some of that had to do with his quarterback situation, though. While Olave had C.J. Stroud throwing him the ball, Burks was working with K.J. Jefferson. Stroud is likely a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but Jefferson is not. 

    So, while Burks worked a lot out of the slot at Arkansas, the team was really trying to get him the ball as much as possible. He projects as a true outside receiver who can be a deep threat with his ability to win at the catch point or a YAC monster with his tough running. 

    Either way, he'd be a great weapon for Prescott to work with. 

Round 2: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan

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    It's fair to say the Cowboys have other needs they could address with the No. 24 pick. The latest B/R Scouting Department mock draft has the team taking interior offensive lineman Zion Johnson to replace Connor Williams, who departed in free agency. 

    That means the need to find another talented young receiver could shift to the second or third round. 

    If that's the case, the front office should be hoping Skyy Moore (scouting report) falls to the Cowboys. 

    Moore brings a similar frame to Olave albeit more compact at 5'9" and 195 pounds. While that is a build that is typically moved to the slot in the NFL, it's worth noting he played on the outside at Western Michigan as well. 

    B/R NFL scout Nate Tice noted his versatility in his scouting report which compared him to Golden Tate. 

    "He is a good route runner with reliable hands and enough athletic ability to win versus man coverage and pressed cornerbacks. He has the upside of being a good No. 2-type option who can move around the formation and be a chain mover on short and intermediate routes," Tice wrote. 

    Moore is the kind of player who doesn't bring anything elite to the table but knows how to get open and has great hands. Ultimately, that's what you want in a receiver.