Despite not needing a wide receiver, especially in the first round of the draft, the Dallas Cowboys shot their shot which could put them over the top.
Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys was already stacked. Most of us, myself absolutely included, thought this draft would be heavily slanted towards boosting a defense in need of help. Sometimes, the best defense is an even better offense.
Thanks to the choices made by the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos, most draftnik’s best overall receiver fell right into the Dallas Cowboys laps with the seventeenth overall pick. Give credit to the Cowboys brain trust for making the tough decision to choose Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb over defensive help or trading down to acquire more picks.
Make no mistake about it, Lamb is a special talent. Depending on who is doing the evaluation, I have seen him compared to the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jr., and former NFL superstar Chad Johnson. Even if he falls slightly short of those expectations, Dallas just obtained a guy who will be a borderline Pro Bowl talent for a long, long time in the NFL.
Before we get to why this pick should work out splendidly for the Dallas Cowboys, let’s dive into what, exactly, makes Lamb so dangerous to opposing defenses. Let’s start by looking at his measurables.
At 6-foot-2 and almost 200 lbs., Lamb has slightly better average hand size and arm length, compared to most other NFL receivers. Nothing specific about his build or body screams “athletic freak.” His forty-yard dash time of 4.5 at the NFL combine would also be considered slightly better than average. Let’s be clear here, the Dallas Cowboys did not just draft the second coming of Randy Moss physically.
Where Lamb wins, time and again, is in between the lines, not the gym. The dude flat out balls on the football field.
Lamb is best in open space with the ball in his hands and the ball seems to end up there a lot. In three seasons at Oklahoma, Lamb posted 173 career receptions for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns, adding another score on a carry.
Typically, I’m not one to get all giddy over college offensive stats because, by and large, most big programs only have two or three “tough” games per year. For those of you like me, I weeded out Lamb’s games against… well… lambs and focused on five games against the upper-echelon competition Oklahoma faced. Here’s how he fared in those games:
2017: vs. Georgia (13-2) – six catches for 66 yards and no touchdowns
2018: vs. Texas (10-4) – six catches for 167 yards and one touchdown
2018: vs. Alabama (14-1) – eight catches for 109 yards and one touchdown
2019: vs. Baylor (11-3) – eight catches for 173 yards and no touchdowns
2019: vs. LSU (15-0) – four catches for 119 yards and no touchdowns
Lamb certainly held his own in these five games facing teams that routinely put several defenders in the NFL on an annual basis. He also provides his offensive coordinator with the ability to put him anywhere on the field as he can lineup either on the outside or in the slot.
His best traits as a receiver seem to be his hands, elusiveness, and ability to bring in balls most would consider tough to catch. He makes the spectacular catch appear to be routine. Lamb also seems to make up for weakness as a route-runner with an uncanny ability to set up opposing cornerbacks in order to get open often in man coverage.
These skills and traits will work out well as a member of the Dallas Cowboys for two huge reasons. First and foremost are the weapons surrounding CeeDee Lamb.
On the perimeter, opposing defenses have two weapons garnering their attention. Four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper is coming off a year of almost 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Oh, by the way, there is also Michael Gallup who just posted 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season in the NFL.
If that wasn’t enough, defenses still have to account for one of the best running backs in the league. In three full seasons, Ezekiel Elliott‘s worst production on the ground still totaled over 1,350 yards. With 48 total touchdowns in 56 games, Elliott can take it to the house at any time.
The straw that stirs the drink, however, is quarterback Dak Prescott. With a career completion percentage over 65.5 percent and almost 16,000 passing yards in four seasons, Prescott moves the ball willingly through the air. All of this should benefit Lamb’s talents, making him another dangerous weapon in the Dallas Cowboys offense.
The other reason this addition should go how everyone who loves this team hopes it will is the men orchestrating the offense. Simply put, Jason Garrett is no longer around to get in the way or stifle growth.
Second-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should have more freedom to shine under new head coach and offensive guru Mike McCarthy. This duo has the potential to be very exciting.
Once upon a time, Moore led one of the most prolific passing offenses in all of college football. In fact, Moore still ranks fifth in the history of the NCAA in passing yards. It is safe to say that Moore understands how to spread the ball around and put opposing defenses into uncomfortable situations. In all four seasons at Boise State, Moore made sure at least three different receivers caught 30+ balls.
McCarthy meanwhile presided over an offense in Green Bay that finished in the top ten in yards nine out of his twelve full seasons as head coach. The Packers also finished top ten in points in eight of those seasons, leading the entire NFL twice in scoring.
Aside from injuries or some kind of unexpected mental breakdown, CeeDee Lamb should take this Dallas Cowboys offense to another level. With all four of these weapons under the age of 25, the offense should be explosive for several years to come. If he performs close to expectations, CeeDee will make the Dallas Cowboys offense an A+.