The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of talent on their roster, but in 2022 they once again felt a bit top heavy. When it came to the wide receiver position, CeeDee Lamb was took the leap from Pro Bowl receiver to elite, ramping up his production after the jettisoning of teammate Amari Cooper. From 79 receptions for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns, Lamb hauled in 112 catches for 1,359 yards and nine scores.
But behind him, the trough was empty. Dallas foolishly thought they could move on from Cooper without replacing him. The ACL-recovering Michael Gallup was augmented by free-agent-failure signing of James Washington and elevated reserve Noah Brown. They were not enough and Dallas seemingly learned their lesson. This offseason, they traded for Brandin Cooks to be their No. 2 receiver and it looks on paper to be a home-run decision.
Underrated by some fans
Some fans, who complained vehemently about the fifth-round pick compensation received for trading Cooper to the Browns, then turned around and claimed that Cooks isn’t much of a catch. Whether it be because of the price Dallas paid (fifth and sixth-round picks) not being much in terms of draft capital, or the fact Cooks has now been traded four times, some feel he isn’t much of an acquisition.
D Magazine’s Dan Morse put that idea to rest, hopefully forever, with a great deep dive into how Cooks cooks, and what he brings to the Cowboys’ offense. The focus is on the fact that while he and Gallup have similar target and depth profiles, Cooks’ skillset seems more inline with what Dallas needs opposite Lamb.
The analytics are in favor of the move, but the raw stats also support just how underrated Cooks has been in the league.
Active Leader among WRs
Cooks, just 29 years old, has already played in nine NFL seasons. In six of them, he’s surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau.
However, Cooks has never made the Pro Bowl. How rare is this?
There are a ton of seasons where a receiver hits the milestone and doesn’t earn the honor of making the Pro Bowl. However Cooks leads all active receivers with it happening all six of his 1,000-yard seasons.
The all-time leader is former Titans and Ravens WR Derrick Mason. Mason had eight, 1,000-yard seasons across his career, but made the Pro Bowl in one of them, along with a second year when he didn’t reach 1,000.
Brandin Cooks is the active NFL leader in seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards but didn't make the Pro Bowl.
6; he's never gone.
All-time record is 7 by Derrick Mason, who made 2 Pro Bowls including an 8th 1,000+ yd szn.
— KD Drummond (@KDDrummondNFL) March 25, 2023
The company Cooks keeps
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Mike Evans is next behind Cooks’ six seasons with five, but Evans has made four Pro Bowls in the other of his amazing nine-year run of 1,000 receiving yards.
Cooks shares second place overall with well-regarded wideouts Marques Colston, a teammate of Cooks when he first entered the league, and former Cowboy Joey Galloway.
On the list of active players, Tyler Lockett is next up with four, though he has a Pro Bowl from his rookie season as a kick returner.
New Bears wideout D.J. Moore had 1,000-yard seasons in his first three years in Carolina, but never made the Pro Bowl for them. Behind them are a grouping of several receivers with two 1,000-yard campaigns without making the Pro Bowl, including Cooper who got honored his first four 1,000-yard seasons but has been left off when he hit the plateau in 2020 and again in 2022.
Now that Cooks is in Dallas, he’s returning to the spotlight he didn’t see while in Houston. If he’s able to amass 1,000 yards as a compliment to Lamb, perhaps there’s a chance his streak comes to an end.
The Cowboys would be happy with him achieving the feat regardless of whether or not the league voted him into the festivities, of course.