Browns: Amari Cooper ranked far too low by Pro Football Focus

Amari Cooper was the Cleveland Browns No. 1 wide receiver but seems to never get the respect he deserves
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

There's nothing worse than a false narrative in the NFL. Typically, someone gets labeled inappropriately and it sticks forever — despite all the evidence to the contrary. That's exactly what's happening now for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Continually disrespected — perhaps due to his quiet demeanor — Cooper was recently ranked 22nd by Pro Football Focus on their top wide receiver list.

He came in behind D.J. Moore (63 receptions for 888 yards, 7 TDs), Amon-Ra St. Brown (106 receptions, 1,161 yards, 6 TDs), Terry McLaurin (77 receptions for 1,191 yards, 5 TDs), and Chris Godwin (104 receptions, 1,023 yards, 3 TDs) which all seem questionable.

Not only is Cooper near them in stats while working with a reserve quarterback for most of the season (78 receptions, 1,160 yards, 9 TDs) but he's also been more consistent for much longer.

On top of that, Sam Monson of PFF even says he makes every offense better. But then says one of the more consistent producers in the NFL suffers with consistency.

"Cooper makes every offense he steps into better. He has now demonstrated this knack for the Raiders, Cowboys and Browns in the NFL, yet the discussion about Cooper tends to center too often around his deficiencies. A receiver who is good at everything, Cooper is an excellent weapon whose only real issue is consistency."

Monson, PFF

Somewhere along the lines, it was decided that Cooper wasn't a No. 1 wide receiver. It's such a lazy take that it doesn't even deserve to be discredited, but we're going to anyway.

First, Cooper has been in the NFL for eight seasons and has been the No. 1 wideout in seven of those years. The one time he wasn't, was when CeeDee Lamb took over in Dallas during the 2021 campaign. Lamb, who racked up 107 receptions for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns last season would be a No. 1 over most players, so this is no knock on Cooper.

It's also the reason Cooper landed with the Browns and instantly improved their passing attack. He was the go-to guy for Jacoby Brissett and then Deshaun Watson, who had to knock off the 700-day rust. He also continued to prove he can gain yards in bulk as he was 15th in yards per route and can catch the ball despite tight coverage — catching 55.6 percent of his contested targets. He even finished 15th overall according to PFF last year with a grade of 81.2.

Even with the quarterback concerns, Cooper topped 1,000 yards for the sixth time in eight NFL seasons. He's now hauled in 595 receptions for 8,236 yards with 90 touchdowns. But no one cares about any of his numbers except for in 2017 and 2021, which were the only years he fell under the 1,000-yard mark.

Those are the seasons that gave him this narrative. That 2017 campaign where he had 48 receptions for 680 yards in 14 games is why people laughed at the Cowboys for trading for him in 2018. And that 865 yards on 68 receptions for eight touchdowns while winding up second to CeeDee Lamb is why everyone thought the Browns needed DeAndre Hopkins (whose numbers over the past 19 games aren't much greater than Cooper's over the last 17 but he landed at No. 11 despite not playing in 15 games the past two years).

Cooper is a legit No. 1 target and is one of the best route runners in the game. But since he doesn't throw a fit when the ball doesn't come his way, no one seems to care.

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