The Dallas Cowboys finally go their man, although it took 4 years to do it.
Back in 2013, the Cowboys liked Jonathan Cooper and were hoping that the highly rated guard out of North Carolina would slide in the draft to #18, where the Cowboys would be waiting for him.
“We wanted him (Cooper) so bad,” Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones said back in January. “We liked to have died when Arizona took him.”
Cooper didn’t fall, he went to eh Arizona Cardinals at #7 and the Cowboys traded back with the San Francisco 49ers which took Dallas from 18 to the 31st pick in the 1st round where they selected Travis Frederick.
Cooper’s career was postponed due to a broken leg that caused him to miss his entire rookie season. From then on Cooper remained limited, playing just 11 games in 2014 and 2015 with the Cardinals.
Arizona eventually traded Cooper, along with a 2nd round pick, to the New England Patriots for linebacker Chandler Jones.
Cooper never player a down for the Pats and was released. The Cleveland Browns eventually claimed him and Cooper started three of the five games he played for them before being released at the end of the season.
Dallas signed Cooper in January before the playoffs started and recently announced that Cooper agreed to a one-year deal to stay with the team. Cooper is getting an opportunity to play on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and re-start his career.
Cooper will join Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin as 1st round draft picks all playing on the Dallas line, so he is in great company. Cooper should feel confident with his chances in Dallas, especially when you consider how the Cowboys helped rejuvenate the career of Marc Colombo, who is still with the Cowboys, but as a coach.
With Doug Free’s shocking recent retirement and the departure of Ronald Leary in free agency the Cowboys line is left in a state of flux.
With Cooper added to the mix Dallas could move La’el Collins to right tackle to fill the void left by Free. But, if Dallas does find a more suitable replacement at right tackle, then Cooper adds valuable depth to an already talented line.
There is a low-risk-high-reward potential with Cooper and with Dallas already heavily financially invested in their line and likely going to need to work on an extension soon with Zack Martin, Cooper could be an inexpensive answer should he pan out.
Cooper has always had the potential but it simply never has come to fruition in the NFL thus far.
Maybe Dallas can be Cooper’s chance to finally meet the high expectations attached to him leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft.