This year’s lead up to the NFL Draft for Cowboys fans was unlike any other. Part of that is because there is really nothing else going on in the sports world so all eyes are on the draft, while part of that is because the Dallas Cowboys have a brand new coaching staff led by a Super Bowl-winning coach and have a first-round selection after trading their pick last year. The virtual draft element also adds something extra to the viewing experience.
There was a ton of speculation on which way the Dallas Cowboys would go in the first-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Adding more talent to a good offense was attractive — especially with the offensive-minded Mike McCarthy in charge — while upgrading the defense was needed after a disappointing 2019 campaign.
Defensively, corner became a big need after 2015 first-rounder Byron Jones left for the Miami Dolphins in free agency, and Robert Quinn getting a big deal with the Chicago Bears created a hole at EDGE.
Offensively, Randall Cobb signing with the Houston Texans after his one-year stint with the Cowboys, and Travis Frederick unexpectedly retiring, created needs at wide receiver and center as well. Even linebacker was speculated as an option for Dallas.
In the end, the Dallas Cowboys opted to select one of the elite talents in the entire draft by taking Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with their first-round choice — considered by many to be the best talent at the position in this year’s draft class.
Lamb immediately brings explosiveness and playmaking ability to the Cowboys. The Texas native was a superstar on the collegiate level during his time in Norman, thanks in large part to creating explosive plays after the catch.
The newest member of the Dallas Cowboys - CeeDee Lamb pic.twitter.com/fxyMq6NOFQ— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) April 24, 2020
You can argue how big of a need wide receiver is with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup both going over 1,000 yards a season ago, but passing on a talent such as Lamb would have been a major mistake. Besides, Prescott proved that he can spread the ball around as Cobb totaled 828 yards himself out of the slot last season.
Dane Brugler ranks the Oklahoma product as the ninth best player in the entire 2020 draft class, including the best wide receiver. Brugler says that the newest Dallas Cowboys pass catcher has a “natural feel for creating after the catch”. It is easy to imagine he will be able to do just that with Dak Prescott throwing him the football in Mike McCarthy’s first year on the job.
Lamb has quick hands and feet to give defenders the slip before and after the catch, showcasing the football IQ and athleticism that allows him to find open space downfield. There is a backyard football element to his game and added refinement is needed, but his natural feel for creating after the catch is what he does best, showing multiple gears, vision and toughness to force missed tackles. Overall, Lamb is a balanced athlete with the body fluidity of a much small player and the ball skills and competitive nature of a much bigger player, projecting as a high-ceiling NFL starter due to his playmaking instincts.
Lamb is a very versatile offensive weapon, too. He is not somebody that will be restricted to playing just one spot on the field. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley used Lamb all over the field in a number of ways, wanting to get his playmaker the ball. As the receiver said himself, “I can do in and outside, I can run any route in the route tree that you need.”
“My yards after the catch,” Lamb said. “My versatility, I can do in and outside, I can run any route in the route tree that you need. I’m the bigger target. And I’m a go-getter. I love to play football.”
There is no other way to put it: the Dallas Cowboys have just drafted an elite talent that has the ability to step in and immediately make an impact on this football team. Dallas opted to go the Best Player Available route over team need, which is what successful teams choose to do. Dallas has strengthened one of their strengths and given another weapon for Prescott and McCarthy to attack defenses with.
Not only do the Cowboys now have one of the scariest wide receiver trios across the National Football League, they potentially killed two birds with one stone by preventing the Eagles from getting Lamb.
Welcome to America’s Team, CeeDee!