Dallas Cowboys: What can we realistically expect from CeeDee Lamb?

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Ceedee Lamb
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Ceedee Lamb /

The Dallas Cowboys had the steal of the draft when they took CeeDee Lamb at No. 17 overall. Will the star college wide receiver shine in his rookie season?

For all the excitement Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa drummed up during the 2020 NFL Draft, it was the CeeDee Lamb pick by the Dallas Cowboys that turned the most heads. Deemed by experts to be the top wideout in the 2020 Draft class, the former Oklahoma star fell right into the lap of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, who eagerly snatched him off the board.

Lamb has drawn comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins so it’s understandable why there’s so much buzz surrounding him. But what can Cowboys Nation realistically expect from the rookie wide receiver in terms of production this season?

There are two things that threaten to hold back Lamb during his rookie season but only one of them is really out of his control. The coronavirus outbreak has forced many OTAs and rookie camps to be held virtually. Obviously that’s not ideal for an incoming wide receiving looking to learn the offense.

It’s unclear how training camps will be affected although there are reports that they could start on time. Having a full training camp will be imperative for Lamb to develop chemistry with Dak Prescott. Should camp be shortened, it will take that much longer for Lamb to acclimate to the offense, potentially resulting in limited playing time early on in the season.

A pandemic isn’t the only thing that threatens his playing time. The Cowboys already have two 1,000-yard receivers on their roster in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Barring injury, Lamb will likely start the season as the No. 3 receiver.

CeeDee Lamb could become go-to option for the Dallas Cowboys

That doesn’t mean Lamb can’t be productive though. Even with Cooper and Gallup accounting for nearly 40 percent of Dak Prescott’s receptions, there’s still an opportunity for Lamb to shine with the departure of Randall Cobb, who hauled in 55 catches for 828 yards and three touchdowns.

With Cobb, Jason Witten (63 rec.) and Tavon Austin (13 rec.) now out of the picture, Lamb could receive the bulk of those opportunities.

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What Lamb makes of these chances early on will not only determine how much the Cowboys coaching staff can trust the 21-year-old, but also how heavily Dak Prescott will lean on the rookie in key situations. If they can develop a tight rapport early on, Lamb could become the go-to option on third down as Cooper and Gallup draw most of the attention.

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Seeing as how Randall Cobb, Jason Witten and Tavon Austin combined for 190 targets and 1,534 receiving yards, I think there’s a good chance Lamb can top 850 receiving yards as a rookie.