Cowboys’ Amari Cooper says he’s ‘the best receiver in the league,’ but hasn’t proven it yet
FRISCO, Texas — Amari Cooper is one of the more thoughtful players in the Cowboys locker room.
The latest example of this came when he was asked by reporters if he considers himself the NFL’s best receiver, or at least the best one that flies under the radar.
“I think I’m the best receiver in the league,” Cooper said Monday afternoon. “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."
Cooper has been remarkably consistent since entering the league in 2015. He has averaged 74.8 receptions in his six seasons and gained more than 1,000 yards five times.
What Cooper hasn’t done is put together a breakout season. His 92 receptions last season tied for 11th among the league’s receivers, easily the highest he’s ranked. He has twice finished in the top 10 in receiving yards, but near the back end of that range both times.
“There are guys who have actually put up some great numbers, they’ve taken advantage of their opportunities and stuff like that," Cooper said. “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."
Cooper played at 225 pounds last season. He dropped 10 pounds in the offseason and wouldn’t mind slicing another five pounds off that total before the season is done.
The veteran was asked if the decision to lose weight was independent of his desire to be the league’s top receiver or part of the plan to obtain that goal.
“It wasn’t independent of that," Cooper said. “Everything I do is for a reason.
“Like I said before, when I had gained the weight it was for the same reason, trying to be the biggest, fastest, quickest. But then I realized it didn’t really make a difference in my game, so I’m trying to get back to a lighter version of myself, just so I can be even quicker.
“I think that’s what is most important."