CeeDee Lamb is following in the footsteps of Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin, and the rookie wide receiver is hoping those steps trace a similar route to Canton.
“Be a Hall of Famer,” Lamb told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when asked for his career goals. “Have as much of an impact or more that Michael had on the game and on America’s Team. I want to be on a team that makes unbelievable memories together. I feel like that is what we are going to do here.”
“I can’t wait.”
It’s well documented that Lamb, upon being drafted by Dallas with the 17th overall pick, assumed jersey No. 88, partly to assuage owner Jerry Jones and partly to carry a tradition set by Irvin, Drew Pearson, and Dez Bryant.
Irvin, inducted into the Hall in 2007, has long had his bust on display. Pearson, a franchise great, is a future candidate for football immortalization. Bryant is one of the best wideouts of this generation.
Lamb realizes the enormity of the task before him, the responsibility of donning these particular digits — and he’s fueled by it.
“That is a legendary number for the legendary America’s team,” he said. “For me to go out there and represent the great legends that have worn that number is a huge presentable moment. I can’t wait to live it out for the first time. I want to continue the legacy of 88. The 88 club is something big in Dallas. I want to live up to it.”
Arguably the best receiver in this year’s historically deep class, Lamb brings star power to the NFL’s top-ranked offense in yards per game. He’s aiming to vault the sixth-best scoring offense to No. 1, decreeing a 40-points-per-game average as “definitely achievable” considering he’s stationed alongside the likes of Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Michael Gallup.
“Another playmaker, another dominant performer, another guy who loves to win,” Lamb said. “That is what I feel I bring to the table. I can’t wait to get to Dallas to show everybody what the Cowboys are bringing to the table.”
A bonafide Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Lamb is projected to notch 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his augural season as a pro — the first step toward a potential gold-jacket career.
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Dallas Criticized for Using First-Round Pick on Lamb
By most accounts, the Cowboys stole the former Oklahoma wide receiver in the first round. By Peter King’s account, they made a mistake.
The longtime NFL reporter, in a recent mailbag for NBC Sports, was critical of the Cowboys for choosing Lamb over a defensive player, given this offseason’s roster turnaround.
“I still feel like the Cowboys would have been wiser to go defense with the pick that nabbed Lamb—even better, a trade-down to get a corner and a safety in rounds one and two—after losing sack leader Robert Quinn and top cornerback Byron Jones in free agency,” King wrote. “Dak Prescott certainly can win his share of 33-30 games; now, for the Cowboys to beat Philadelphia for the NFC East crown, he’ll have to. I think the Cowboys are the team to beat in the division, but one of the toughest November/December slates in football (Eagles twice, Steelers and Niners at home, Ravens and Vikings away) will make it very difficult.”
Funny enough, King — who pegged the Cowboys at No. 8 overall in his latest power rankings — prefaced those remarks by noting, correctly, that Lamb’s presence adds another layer of dynamism to an offense which finished tops in yards and averaged 27.1 points per game in 2019.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL