The 2020 NFL schedule reveal has many excited and hopeful about the upcoming football season. Regarding the Cowboys in particular, a lot of the excitement surrounds the heights that this offense can potentially reach under the tutelage of Mike McCarthy, the growth of Dak Prescott, and the plethora of weapons at the skill positions.
Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2019 with Prescott nearly reaching 5,000 yards through the air. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the better backs around the league, and Tony Pollard flashed when given the opportunities to do so during his rookie season in the NFL.
Now, the Cowboys have added one the elite talents in the 2020 draft class in Oklahoma star receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb burst onto the scene as a freshman during the 2017 season before developing into one of the scariest offensive weapons in all of college football by the time he left Norman.
The addition of Lamb has many thinking this offense will take the next step and create even more problems for opponents. It is not difficult to imagine that defenses will have a variety of complications when defending the trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb while also accounting for Elliott in the run game. Prescott has the ability to hurt defenses with his legs as well, and many around the Cowboys are excited about Blake Jarwin’s potential to stretch the field.
Dallas has received excellent reviews and draft grades from many in the media world, but executives have taken noticed of the Cowboys’ draft class as well.
Furthermore, many around the league are still astonished that the talented Lamb fell all the way into the Cowboys’ laps. The Oklahoma product and Forest, Texas, native was widely considered the top player at his position in the class and receiver-needy teams such as the Jets, Raiders, 49ers, and Broncos all picked ahead of Dallas. There were also rumors that Philadelphia could jump Dallas if any of the top three wideouts (Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III) took a fall.
In the end, the Jets grabbed their franchise left tackle to protect Sam Darnold, the 49ers drafted a defensive tackle to strengthen their front-seven, and the Raiders (Ruggs) and Broncos (Jeudy) went different directions at wideout. Once the Falcons decided to grab a corner, everything fell into place for Dallas.
Lamb falling to 17 is in the conversation of being “the draft’s biggest surprise”. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke to an NFC executive and an NFL offensive coordinator about the Cowboys’ first-round draft pick.
The NFC exec. said he thought Lamb was the best receiver in the draft, and that he doesn’t think that he “was alone in that”.
When you ask people around the league about the draft’s biggest surprise, the Dallas Cowboys getting Lamb at No. 17 overall is the first item that comes up in conversation.
“Not only where they got him, but the order in which the receivers were drafted,” one NFC exec said. “I thought Lamb was the best in the class, and I don’t think I was alone in that.”
The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen called Lamb the “most well-rounded receiver in the draft”, comparing the former Sooners star to DeAndre Hopkins prior to the draft. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked Lamb as the best receiver in the class and the ninth overall player in his rankings.
An NFL offensive coordinator described Lamb’s fit with Amari Cooper as “perfect”.
CeeDee Lamb is thought so highly of because of his unique blend of his wide catch radius, sticky hands, and rare after-the-catch ability. Lamb produced with three different quarterbacks in three different style of offense during his collegiate career, averaging 19 yards per catch over three seasons.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley tailored his system to maximize each of his quarterback’s strengths (Baker Mayfield in 2017 when Lamb was a freshman, Kyler Murray in 2018, and Jalen Hurts in 2019). Riley used Lamb all over the offense, lining the Texas native outside and in the slot. Regardless of where he lined up, Lamb torched defenses.
Because of his ability to be effective all over the field, Lamb gives McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore a ton of ways to utilize him and Cooper. The offensive coordinator that Fowler spoke to say that the two receivers “are perfect for each other”.
Those who ranked Lamb as the top wideout in the class believe he has the makings of a No. 1 receiver because of his knack for playmaking and toughness. Pairing Lamb with Amari Cooper in Dallas creates endless possibilities for the Cowboys’ offense.
“They are perfect for each other,” said one NFL offensive coordinator, who spent significant time scouting draft-eligible wideouts. “Amari is a great route runner with speed. Lamb is physical and really good after the catch — a baller.”
Cowboys fans are excited about what Lamb will add to one of the league’s best offenses — and for good reason. It’s not often that you see a talent such as Lamb fall to the second half of the first-round, but Dallas was extremely fortunate this April.
Here’s hoping that we get to see Prescott throwing to the trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb in a few months.