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2020 NFL Draft Grades: “Cowboys offense has a chance to be one of the best in the league.”

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A review of the draft grades the Cowboys have received so far for their first-round pick.

Dallas Cowboys Introduce Head Coach Mike McCarthy Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Grading a draft a mere hours after after the last pick is generally frowned on by the more hardcore football fan who knows that drafts can’t really be graded until three to four years after the fact.

Regardless, what the grades do - to some extent - is they capture the media reaction about a draft immediately after it is over. The fan reaction is easier to capture: If the Cowboys drafted Staubach, Lilly, Jordan, Wright, and Renfro all in one draft, fans would still crucify them. Such is the nature of Cowboys fans

In this post, we’ll look at seven writers who have submitted their grades for the Cowboys already, most of which are “A” grades:

The Ringer really likes the pick and gave it an A+

Receiver wasn’t a strong need for the Cowboys with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup under contract, but it’s tough to criticize them for defaulting to the clear Best Player Available strategy by grabbing Lamb. The Oklahoma pass catcher, who checked in at no. 6 on my Big Board, is a smooth route runner with a physical, aggressive style at the catch point and after the catch. He’s savvy with the ball in the air, jockeying for position to gain leverage and win 50-50 balls, and is slippery and elusive in space, exploding past―and sometimes through―tackle attempts while picking up extra yards downfield. Lamb isn’t the most sudden receiver in this class, but he showed off the speed to get over the top of a defense (and averaged 19.0 yards per catch in his college career, including a 21.4-yard average in 2019—good for third among FBS players) and the ability to separate late in his route to create space downfield. He’s absurdly productive and has the skill set to make an early impact in his career, even in a stacked skill-position group in Dallas. Dak Prescott will put up some ridiculous numbers this year and the Cowboys offense has a chance to be one of the best in the league.

Sports Illustrated also gave the pick an A+

With Randall Cobb joining Houston, the Cowboys needed a new slot receiver. What they smartly realized is if they found one who could also play the “Z” position, going in motion and aligning outside, that would allow them to slide pricey star Amari Cooper into the slot, where he’s guaranteed to avoid the press-jam coverage that sometimes gives him trouble. Even better is that Lamb himself can also play significant snaps inside, affording offensive coordinator Kellen Moore the ultimate flexibility with his first-round wide receivers. Expect to see even more of the creative pre-snap motioning and stack-release tactics from Moore this season.

Having Lamb and Cooper together almost assures that Michael Gallup, who is quietly developing into a nice “X” receiver, will often face one-on-one coverage. And in that same vein, it could mean lighter run boxes for Ezekiel Elliott. This is a quality pick with a potentially significant domino effect.

The Sporting News: another A+

The Cowboys had other needs at cornerback and edge rusher, but Jerry Jones couldn’t resist loading up at wideout with a great value pick in Lamb. Dallas lost Randall Cobb, so they can plug in Lamb with Amari Cooper and rising star Michael Gallup. Lamb can be the Cowboys’ version of DeAndre Hopkins, an explosive field-stretcher and steady possession guy outside. At 6-1, 198 pounds, Lamb needed only 58 receptions to post 1,208 yards and 14 TDs in 13 games last season.

NFL.com: straight A for the Cowboys

I don’t think Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a sheepish grin in his arsenal, but he should after getting Lamb — the best receiver in the draft — with the 17th overall pick. Lamb’s body control is ridiculous. He catches everything. While not as quick as others on a track, he’s plenty fast. Plus, Lamb is physical as hell, so even if you catch him, you might not bring him down. I love this pick and Dak Prescott will, too.

WalterFootball also gives Jerry Jones an A

The Cowboys loved K’Lavon Chaisson, but I don’t think they expected CeeDee Lamb to be available. Lamb doesn’t fill much of a need for Dallas with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the roster, but Lamb is the best player available, and it allows the Cowboys to have flexibility with contracts at the position. It’s hard to hate this pick, given that Lamb could’ve gone as high as No. 9 without any complaints.

USA Today: yet another A

Receiver wasn’t a pressing need for Dallas, but who cares? Lamb is the best receiver in this class and now he’s being dropped into what was an elite passing game in 2019. The Oklahoma star does it all: He can win deep, he can win short, he’s a beast after the catch and he dominated in contested catch situations. The Cowboys could not pass up on a talent like that. Jerry better get Dak Prescott’s contract done soon, because he’s about to put up monster numbers in 2020.

CBSSports An always grumpy Pete Prisco breaks up the Cowboys love fest with a B+

This is a classic case of a team not expecting the player to be there. The didn't necessarily need a WR, but he was there. I think they would have picked a pass rusher here had Lamb not fallen to them. If you are true to your board and have a great grade on the guy, you have to take him.


Here’s how the Cowboys’ grades compare to the rest of the NFC East.

NFC East Draft Grades 2020
Cowboys Eagles Giants Redskins
The Ringer A+ B+ B+ A+
SI.com A+ A- C+ A-
Sporting News A+ B- A A+
NFL.com A B B A-
USA Today A C- D+ B+
Walter Football A C- B- A
CBSSports B+ B B+ A


On to the winners and losers articles, where the Cowboys show up a lot today:

NFL Draft winners & losers 2020: Cowboys get it right; Eagles miss mark in Round 1 | Bil Bender, Sporting News
Gotta love it when the Cowboys emerge as winners at the expense of the Eagles.

Winner: Broncos and Cowboys WRs

Dallas picked up a big-time receiver in CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma. Lamb averaged 19.0 yards per catch with the Sooners for his career and is another vertical passing threat that should in well with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.

Loser: Eagles

The Eagles needed an upgrade at receiver, and the board didn’t fall in their favor with Henry Ruggs III, Lamb and Jeudy flying off the board first. Philadelphia settled for Jalen Reagor, who proved himself as a playmaker at TCU, but the 5-11, 200-pound receiver wasn’t quite as consistent in college as the names drafted ahead of him. The fact the Eagles missed out on Lamb at Dallas’ expense made it even worse.

2020 NFL Draft Day 1 winners, losers: Miami up, Rodgers down - Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
Mercy me, did the Cowboys really get the top-ranked wide receiver in the draft?

Winners: Cowboys’ offense:

Who needs defensive linemen or cornerbacks when Daniel Jeremiah’s top-ranked wide receiver falls to pick No. 17? Jerry Jones has consistently snapped up big-name players when they’ve fallen on draft day over the last three decades, usually to great results. CeeDee Lamb is a beast after the catch, and this addition gives Dak Prescott a wealth of options to throw to. Amari Cooper, Lamb and Michael Gallup could rival any top-three wideout combination in football.

2020 NFL Draft Round 1 winners and losers - Bryan DeArdo, CBSSports.com
#TeamFortyBurger eloquently explained: “Maybe it won’t matter how the defense plays if the Cowboys can score at will.”

Winner: Cowboys

While they had other needs, particularly at cornerback and on the defensive line, the Cowboys weren’t going to pass on the chance at taking receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick. In Lamb, the Cowboys are getting a prolific college receiver who can replace Randall Cobb in the slot and give the offense one of the best wide receiver trios in the league.

Dallas’ offense, already loaded with Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, should be one of the league’s most explosive units in 2020. Maybe it won’t matter how the defense plays if the Cowboys can score at will. Dallas now has to go find solid players to strengthen their defensive unit on Friday and Saturday.

NFL Draft 2020: Round 1 Winners and Losers - Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated
#TeamFortyBurger continued:

Jerry Jones welcomes Mike McCarthy to Dallas by giving the former Packers head coach the first Round 1 pick of a wide receiver he’s ever had. CeeDee Lamb was not a player the Cowboys necessarily needed, but he turns the receiving corps into a multi-dimensional unit and instantly upgrades one of the worst aspects of Dallas’s offense. The weapon set at Dak Prescott’s disposal is impressive and good enough to score on any defense in the NFC East.

2020 NFL Draft: Biggest Winners, Losers | Sean T. McGuire, NESN.com
The Cowboys got their No. 6 rated player with the 17th pick. Holy Jumping Jehoshaphat, Batman!

Winners Dallas Cowboys

With the selection of Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys put the best player available ahead of positional need. And while that may not be the way to go, it certainly earned them a steal at No. 17. Lamb gives the Cowboys another electric playmaker to go alongside $20 million receiver Amari Cooper and fellow pass-catcher Michael Gallup. Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones told reporters after the selection that the Cowboys had Lamb as the No. 6 player on their board, something they just couldn’t pass up.


Now that you’ve had a night to sleep over it, how do you feel about the pick?