The Dallas Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb on Thursday night. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Dallas selecting Lamb was the player that they did not choose. LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson ultimately ended up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but there is a lot of logic that made sense for him to end up with a star on his helmet.
The reality is that the Cowboys are in sore need of an edge rusher to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence, but Chaisson was not the best player available on the board when Dallas was on the clock. Jerry Jones and Co. said several times that Lamb was the sixth-ranked player by their group, which means Chaisson obviously wasn’t part of the top five, and true to a “best player available” approach they drafted the talent that fell to them.
There was definitely discussion for Chaisson though
While the Cowboys did not draft Chaisson, it would have made sense had they indeed gone that route. He was perhaps the player that made the most sense which is definitely a different thing than the best available player, but Dallas stuck to their board.
Jerry Jones detailed how they felt during this paradox in the team’s post-draft press conference on Thursday night. It seems like they definitely wrestled over the two players.
“It was a heavy, not a heavy, but a serious thought. We talked about it. It was a key point to think about going that direction. All of our group really spoke to it. The facts are we’ve been speaking about him relative to other potential defensive players. If the decision time should come, if you had a choice on the board. So like I say... and I must go ahead and finish it... as much as we thought of him, and we thought a lot of him, CeeDee just took the day.”
It’s hard to imagine that any NFL front office ranked Chaisson ahead of Lamb on their respective boards and the Cowboys deserve some serious props for following the map that they laid out in their most objective days.
That’s really what is so exciting about the Lamb pick. It is emblematic of a philosophy that the Cowboys have under Mike McCarthy, one of discipline and reasoned thinking. There are no emotional decisions, just calculations that bear out and need to be tabulated.
Jerry’s words after the first round ended are obviously indicative of the team valuing Chaisson, but consider what he said in the immediate aftermath. Shortly after the Lamb pick was turned in, Jerry showed up on the team’s livestream of the event and specifically said that he wanted a pass rusher.
“I came in wanting a pass rusher. So having said that we had to have this opportunity. It’s a good night. I’m really proud. He’s going to be a great complement to Dak and other parts of our offense.”
Landing the sixth-ranked player on your board with the 17th overall pick has to feel pretty sweet so it makes sense for Dallas to be pleased with their first-round performance. If past history of success from Cowboys first-rounders is any indicator then we can expect some fun things from Lamb.
But will the team regret taking him over K’Lavon Chaisson? Interestingly enough we’ll see throughout his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars much like we have Jalen Ramsey (who was traded) and Myles Jack as a result of the 2016 Draft.