Barring an unforeseen change, CeeDee Lamb will continue pulling double duty for the Dallas Cowboys.
Responding to concerns about potential overuse, Rob Phillips of the team’s official website projected the stud second-year wide receiver to moonlight as Dallas’ primary punt returner in 2021, “given how effective he was a rookie.”
“I agree that CeeDee is a critical part of the offense, and watching him in just two OTAs, you already get the feeling he’s going to be a better receiver than last year,” Phillips wrote in his latest mailbag. “But the Cowboys didn’t have a problem putting him on punt returns in 2020 and I’m not sure why that would change given how effective he was.”
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As electric as Lamb was on offense — and he was, catching 74 passes for 935 yards with five touchdowns — he was also a threat on the third side of the ball. Appearing in all 16 games, the former No. 17 overall pick returned 24 punts for 172 yards (7.2 yards per return) and one kickoff, of the onside variety, for a 47-yard touchdown.
“I’m of the opinion that they won’t be able to resist putting CeeDee at punt returns,” wrote Jonny Auping of the Cowboys’ official website. “He’s too explosive, and while I think he’s going to have a great year offensively, there are so many offensive weapons. There will be games where Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper will most of the catches or the run game is carrying the load. Maximizing CeeDee’s playmaking seems hard to pass up. Tony Pollard should be able to handle kickoff returns.”
Lamb was an adept return man at Oklahoma, bringing back 54 career punts for 475 yards (8.8 YPR) across 40 career games. He never returned a kick with the Sooners, but his special teams prowess nonetheless boosted an already conflated stock.
“Whenever Lamb touches the ball, he is a dangerous threat to rip off a long gain because of his tremendous run-after-the-catch skills,” Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com noted in his pre-draft scouting report. “Via his great skills with the ball in his hands, Lamb is a dangerous punt returner. His NFL team probably won’t use him much in that role to protect him from injury, but Lamb does bring that added value and could go back to return punts in critical situations.”
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Lamb Mosses DB at Cowboys OTAs
CeeDee made the play of the day during last week’s Organized Team Activity practice, skying over cornerback Anthony Brown and contorting in mid-air to snare a deep ball from Dak Prescott. The circus grab, embedded below, invoked shades of Lamb’s gravity-defying touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I mean, as a typical receiver, I feel like if the ball is in the air 50/50, the receiver is feeling like it’s 100/0 always,” Lamb said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m looking to be more aggressive. Any time I see the ball in the air, I believe it is mine.”
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