Gold-jacket-high, according to one projection.
As uncovered by Marcus Mosher of Locked on Cowboys, Lamb drew a truly wonderous pre-draft comparison to Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice — also known as the GOAT — from PlayerProfiler.com, an advanced NFL stats and metrics website.
While it’s obviously too early to start carving out his bust, Lamb is arguably the best receiver in a historically-deep incoming class, somehow falling into Dallas’ lap at No. 17 overall. Hyperbole aside, he’s a jaw-droppingly electric talent, a cocktail of break-neck fluidity and dynamic ball skills.
The best available player on the Cowboys’ big board, taken over the likes of stud LSU pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, Lamb — who runs a 4.5 at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds — totaled 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns over his three-year Oklahoma Sooners career. He broke out in his 2019 junior season, finishing with 1,327 yards and 14 scores on 62 grabs.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, on the clock, wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He turned down three separate, tempting trade offers to stay put at 17. If Jones could have sprinted Lamb’s card to commissioner Roger Goodell, he would have.
“Those trades ultimately are supposed to add another player to be valuable,” he said, via SI.com’s Mike Fisher, “but we couldn’t trump [Lamb].”
Lamb’s non-Rice comparisons varied but all were overwhelmingly positive, ranging from DeAndre Hopkins to Chad Johnson. NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks furthered the former on Monday.
“As a pass-catcher, Lamb displays A-plus hands and ball skills. He tracks the ball down like MLB centerfielder exhibiting extraordinary tracking skills and hand-eye coordination,” Brooks wrote. “Watching Lamb repeatedly come down with 50-50 balls with defenders draped over him reminds me of DeAndre Hopkins but Lamb is a more explosive and dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. The Oklahoma product expands the strike zone with his tracking skills and expansive catching radius, which will make him a QB1’s best friend in critical situations.”
Calling him Rice 2.0 or the second coming of Hopkins is presumption wrapped in hyperbole until Lamb proves his chops at the professional level. Dallas is too well acquainted with megabust WRs (Joey Galloway, Roy Williams) — they seem like sure things, until they’re not.
But, and here’s the stark difference, Lamb isn’t being relied on right away as the WR1. He’s not expected to be the WR2, either, for that matter. He joins an already high-powered offense buoyed by star running back Ezekiel Elliott, $100 million Pro Bowler Amari Cooper and 2019 breakout stud Michael Gallup. His quarterback is Dak Prescott, the NFL’s second-leading passer last season and captain of the league’s top-ranked unit in yards and second-best passing attack.
Suffice it to say, the Cowboys have weapons. Lots of them. Too many for opposing teams to cover, or handle. No matter if Lamb is the decoy or breadwinner of the group, this team is going to score points. Lots of them. Too many for opposing teams to match, or overcome.
Lamb, in this situation, with this supporting cast, is likelier to reach GOAT status than he is to bust. Even in a worst-case scenario, he should make for must-see television on a weekly basis.
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Lamb Goes Without Jersey Number … For Now
The Cowboys released a batch of rookie jersey numbers earlier this week. Conspicuously absent from the list was Lamb, who announced after his draft selection that he’d be “rocking No. 10 this year.”
But Jones interjected shortly after, indicating he prefers Lamb to wear No. 88 in honor of his late friend and former college teammate Jerry Lamb, who passed away last year.
“Just like Michael [Irvin] and Dez [Bryant] and those guys, and we’ve got us a wide receiver,” Jones said during his post-first-round conference call, via Blogging the Boys. “And let me tell you one thing: if he’s got the competitiveness and heart of that Jerry Lamb, he’ll be bad to the bone.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL