The Cowboys caught a huge break when CeeDee Lamb somehow landed in their laps during the 2020 NFL draft. No one in the organization thought that would happen. Now that it has, it’s up to Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to utilize him in the best way possible.
If they want a shortcut to just what that would be, perhaps they should check out this article from ESPN. In it they determine the most unstoppable route from 16 wide receivers taken in this past draft. Here is their process:
We looked at the 16 wideouts who were drafted in the first three rounds in April, identifying their best, most productive routes over the past two seasons in college and how those routes fit into their new units. Each receiver’s best route was determined by yards per route run relative to other receivers in the class and other receivers in college football. How often the receiver ran the route was also a consideration. When the ball is snapped, here’s what each Day 1 and Day 2 receiver will do best.
So, just what route did CeeDee Lamb excel at while at Oklahoma?
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Draft/college: Selected No. 17 out of Oklahoma
Best route: Out
Getting Lamb the ball in space underneath worked well for Oklahoma, and it will for the Cowboys, too. Over the past two seasons, Lamb finished in the top 10 in yards after catch on out routes, dig routes and curl routes. In the first quarter of the Big 12 championship game, he put that skill on display, catching an out to the left side of the field, spinning away from the cornerback marking him and then turning on the burners to elude other defenders for a 71-yard gain.
Though it’s a new offense in Dallas, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup ran vertical routes far more than any other route group last year. If that trend continues, it should leave Lamb plenty of space to work underneath.
Lamb is known as an after-the-catch specialist, so it would make sense that shorter routes play to his strength. Get the ball in his hands and let him work. This is a similar role to that occupied by Cole Beasley then Randall Cobb. Gallup is a deeper specialist while also doing well on digs. Cooper can run the whole tree, but as noted, the Cowboys like to run Cooper and Gallup deep to clear out the underneath. Blake Jarwin up the seam should also play a role this year, too.
If those three guys are consistently threatening the middle-to-deep parts of the secondary, Lamb and Tony Pollard could find a lot of room underneath. And both of those guys can turn a short pass into a huge gain.