The football gods smiled on the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
With the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Cowboys selected former Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, ending a surprising freefall for one of the top talents in the entire class.
Evidently the best player available on Dallas’ big board, chosen over the likes of stud LSU pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, Lamb was a three-year contributor for the Sooners, totaling 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns. He broke out as a true junior last season, finishing with 1,327 yards and 14 scores on 62 grabs.
Lamb boosted his stock at February’s Scouting Combine, where he clocked a 4.5 forty time and a 34.5-inch vertical jump. Standing 6-foot-2 with 32.25-inch arms and 9.25-inch hands, he was cemented as a top-three WR prospect along with Alabama’s dynamic duo of Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy.
A game-breaker who’s a threat to score any time he touches the ball, Lamb has drawn pre-draft comparisons to former Texans All-World wideout DeAndre Hopkins. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein likens Lamb to ex-Bengals superstar Chad Johnson.
“Explosive, three-level playmaker and vital cog in one of the most potent offensive machines in college football over the last three seasons,” Zierlien wrote in his scouting profile. “Lamb uses speed and separation quickness to dominate competition in a scheme that frequently created open throws in space. His routes will need to become more efficient and crisp to beat man-to-man coverage against NFL size and speed, but his ball skills and explosiveness with the ball in his hand should allow teams to scheme him into explosive opportunities right away. Lamb has the potential to play any of the three receiver positions as a pro and should benefit greatly from the NFL’s continued movement toward college-style passing attacks.”
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Fit with Cowboys
The rich get richer. One could argue Dallas did not need another receiver after doling out $100 million to Amari Cooper last month and enjoyed a 2019 breakout effort from Michael Gallup. They needed a slot man following the free-agent departure of Randall Cobb, but few thought the Cowboys would satisfy the position this early — and fewer thought Lamb would still be available at 17.
Nevertheless, Lamb immediately slides in as the No. 3 behind the aforementioned. He’s a massive upgrade over Cobb and gives the club perhaps the league’s best troika.
What’s more, Lamb is an adept punt returner, so it’s really like the Cowboys drafted two players for the price of one. No matter where he lines up, the newly-turned 21-year-old will contribute from Day 1.
The three-happiest people at The Star? Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, special teams coordinator John Fassel, and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL