Did you know that in each of the last three seasons an Oklahoma quarterback has been a Heisman finalist (Baker Mayfield 2017, Kyler Murray 2018, and Jalen Hurts 2019), with two of them actually winning it and going on to be the no. 1 pick in the NFL draft? Did you also know that in each of those seasons, those quarterbacks were throwing touchdown passes to CeeDee Lamb? Maybe the CeeDee stands for common denominator?
It wasn’t in the teams plans to select Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb; the Cowboys expected him to be long gone before they were ever on the clock. The front office had the Sooners star receiver no. 6 on their board and in the post-draft press conference Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Mike McCarthy all said that he was never in play in any of the mock drafts that they performed.
But all that changed when the complexity of the draft allowed the best college receiver to fall right into their lap. The Cowboys already boasted the top offense in the league last season in terms of yards with the help of two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. The idea of adding Lamb to the mix in an offense that also features Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott is exhilarating. We have no idea what the 2020 season will entail, but man they’re sure going to be a lot of fun to watch.
In a pass-happy NFL the Dallas Cowboys now have:— Michael Strawn (@LifeInCharts) April 24, 2020
26 YO Pro Bowl QB
26 YO Pro Bowl WR#1
24 YO PB-caliber WR#2
21 YO WR #3 w/PB potential
25 YO All Pro RB who catches ball very well#Team40Burger
The selection of Lamb was a pleasant surprise, and when you look at all the players taken in the first round, he was one of the higher-projected players in this draft. Now, clearly making any type of real assessment before any of these players have even stepped on the field at the NFL level is premature, but it’s still interesting to take a step back and compare how much value teams got with their selections.
Combining ESPN’s draft model with the Trade Value Chart, here are the pick values, player values, and each team’s net value.
Taking the top five scores in terms of net value, the Cowboys made the cut with the fourth-highest score.
Obviously, there’s a lot of value given to higher draft picks, so for Dallas to make the list picking at 17 is very impressive. The Miami Dolphins will end up being the biggest winners if Tua Tagovailoa pans out. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a great deal when offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was still available at pick 13. Many considered Wirfs the top tackle in this draft. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons didn’t fall out of the top 10, but he came close, giving the Arizona Cardinals a great deal with the no. 8 pick.
While those five players were outstanding values in terms of projected draft position, there were some other picks that appeared to come off the board way too early. And it just so happens two of the worst five of those picks belong to the Cowboys NFC East foes - the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
Not only did the Cowboys score a first-round steal in Lamb, but one has to wonder if they crushed the Eagles hopes of landing a big score by taking him a few picks before Philadelphia was up. The Eagles need help at receiver as Carson Wentz had all kinds of problems finding capable pass-catching targets last year, so it’s not surprising they took a receiver with their first pick. What is surprising; however, is that they took Jalen Raegor, who was projected to be the ninth receiver taken off the board. He was slated to fall right where Dallas was picking in round two, so for Philadelphia to select him that early seems like a huge reach.
Jalen Reagor - poor route-runner, small size & catch radius, and struggles with drops.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) April 24, 2020
Sounds like a perfect fit for Philly.
Even more questionable than that pick though was the Giants selection of Andrew Thomas. Similar to Philly, the position wasn’t the surprise as New York needs help protecting their young quarterback, Daniel Jones, but Thomas? He was slated as the fourth-best offensive tackle in the draft and projected to come of the board in the middle of the first round, so being picked fourth overall sure seems like a huge reach.
Why would Giants take a right tackle with the 4th overall pick?— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) April 24, 2020
Oh wait... pic.twitter.com/XDV0ryBfcv