Few rookie wideouts in recent memory have turned out initial performances like that of CeeDee Lamb’s. Some of his fellow Class of 2020 draftees like Justin Jefferson and Chase Claypool posted phenomenal showings in their first go-round at the pro level, but don’t be fooled, finding greenhorn talent that can produce with the immediacy that Lamb did is a rare accomplishment to be treasured.
What he did in the 2020-21 season was nothing short of fantastic: 74 receptions, 935 yards, 46 first downs and five catching TDs; a stat-line even management couldn’t have assuredly foreseen when they snatched him up with their 17th overall selection in last year’s draft.
Lamb didn’t have to make much of a geographical adjustment after venturing into Dallas from nearby Norman, OK, and as evidenced by his on-field exploits during his freshman campaign, the transition from college ranks to pro affairs wasn’t entirely difficult either.
#88 was christened with a sacred organizational jersey number (worn by the likes of Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and franchise receiving touchdowns leader Dez Bryant) at the request of owner Jerry Jones shortly following his signing. The symbolic gesture didn’t carry any direct requirements for the man it was gifted to, but any and all familiar with Cowboys lore can speak to the weight it carries.
There’s just a certain je ne sais quoi that those bestowed with the legendary digits have exhibited through the years, and Lamb responded to Jones’ entrustment by crafting a calculated masterpiece guided by peaceful poise, and an undeterred disposition.
His opening showing was a cinematic experience full of theatrical feats: rock-solid routes, eye-popping grabs and dazzling runs afterwards.
And luckily for ‘Boys supporters, last season was just Act One of the marvelous play. 2021 has all the makings to be a box-office smashing sequel.
#88’s got his primary pass-thrower back in full health, a year-long NFL training regiment under his belt, plus loads of confidence to boot that should catapult him to a splendid sophomore showing.
But this time, he won't be solely undertaking a role as learner. Lamb’s got younger sheep in his flock to tend to now that he’s earned a reputation as an established playmaking threat. Teammates like Simi Fehoko, Brennan Eagles, Johnnie Dixon, Osirus Mitchell, Brandon Smith and Aaron Parker (phew, I miss any?) will all be wise to take heed of Lamb’s example as they round out their own skillsets.
Heck, even vets like Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper have bits and pieces they can take from Lamb’s body of work, and apply to their own. Iron sharpens iron, and Lamb has proven up to this point that he’s razor-blade sharp as an NFL professional.
“My expectations are super-high,” Prescott said. “I’m so excited for CeeDee. . . . He’s a special playmaker that we’re privileged to have and he’ll be big-time and definitely have a breakout season.”
Prescott’s not the only one with soaring confidence in the young gun. Lamb has plenty to say about his own game.
“... [I’m] critiquing myself on routes. Getting a lot faster and stronger. It’s a lot of things I can get better at mentally, learning the plays, dissecting the coverages. The list can go on and on.
“I am always trying to find something to work on.”
“I feel like the jump is definitely there [over last year],” he told media... “It’s all on the future to gauge it. I am excited about the future. Can’t wait for the season. OTAs have been a big plus for me.
In addition to furthered on-field success, Lamb’s future also holds tutelage in its cards, as well as an increased locker room presence. Look for growth from him in each area.
Based on his endeavors up to this point, Lamb’s wholly up to the challenge. And for his fans, that has to create an excitement that mirrors his own as they anticipate a special showcase in 2021.