Cowboys Rookie WR CeeDee Lamb Draws Big-Time Hype for 2020 Preseason

CeeDee Lamb

Getty CeeDee Lamb

Assuming the NFL preseason takes place as planned next month — hardly a lock after the league scrapped the Hall of Fame GameDallas Cowboys fans should be salivating over the sight of CeeDee Lamb.

At least, according to Bleacher Report columnist Kristopher Knox, who selected the first-round rookie wide receiver as the player who will most excite the Cowboys during the exhibition period.

The Dallas Cowboys already have two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. They also finally got quarterback Dak Prescott to sign his franchise tender Monday, meaning the passing attack should be at full strength in 2020. The addition of rookie CeeDee Lamb could make that passing attack even better.

The Oklahoma product is an explosive pass-catcher who racked up 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. While he was a bit of a luxury pick at No. 17, his big-play ability could make Dallas’ passing attack nearly indefensible. Theoretically, the Cowboys could have three 1,000-yard receivers in 2020.

The team will get its first real look at Cooper, Gallup and Lamb together in the preseason—and the Cowboys should be extremely excited to do so.

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Knox Pushes Cowboys to Trade Gallup

Dallas’ embarrassment of riches at receiver is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless, posited Knox. And the way to solve it, if they wanted, which in reality they likely don’t, is by removing the third of the Big Three — last year’s breakout star, Michael Gallup — ahead of the 2020 regular-season campaign.

Knox’s logic was two-fold: Net premium compensation (sell high) and establish Lamb as Amari Cooper’s long-term partner-in-pass-catching.

Dallas just gave fellow receiver Amari Cooper a five-year, $100 million extension and is trying to work out a long-term deal with quarterback Dak Prescott. There simply may not be enough money available to pay Gallup when he’s eligible for a new deal next offseason.

And with rookie first-round receiver CeeDee Lamb now in the fold, Gallup could be viewed as somewhat expendable.

While it would be ideal to have a trio of Cooper, Gallup and Lamb catching passes from Prescott well into the future, it’s not feasible. Sending Gallup to a receiver-needy team now would likely net a Day 2 draft pick at worst and would open the door for Lamb to become Cooper’s new running mate.

I’d say this isn’t a bad idea, but I’d be lying. Dallas didn’t erect a top-five WR corps only to dismantle it as quickly as it was built. Suggesting they move Gallup sometime in the future is one thing; suggesting they cut bait before the trio takes even one snap together is quite another — ludicrous.

From a financial standpoint, the team controls Gallup’s rights through 2022, and for relative peanuts. He’s scheduled to make just $750,000 ($972,495 salary cap charge) this season and $920,000 ($1.142 million) in 2021, his age-25 campaign. For a talent as massive as the former second-round pick, those are almost insulting costs.

From a roster-building perspective, Gallup is coming off a 66-catch, 1,107-yard, six-touchdown season in which 75.76 percent of his receptions resulted in first downs. And, incredibly, five of his six scores came when quarterback Dak Prescott was under pressure, which led the NFL.

Would it be worth it to erase a massive team strength in exchange for unknown, unproven, future draft picks? The answer is a resounding “NO.”

First Look at Lamb Running in Cowboys Helmet [WATCH]

CeeDee is on the grind. With roughly one month until training camp tentatively is scheduled to begin, the No. 17 overall pick has stayed busy sharpening his craft.

Lamb posted to social media last week a video of himself running routes in a Cowboys helmet — the first glimpse of the former Oklahoma stud rocking the star.

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A consensus All-American in 2019, his junior campaign, the 6-foot-2 wideout finished his three-year college career with 173 receptions for 3,292 yards (19.0 yards per catch) and 32 touchdowns. Arguably the top WR in a historically deep class, he wins with gliding 4.5 speed and separation ability that’s been likened to Chad Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, and even Jerry Rice.

Lamb, like every other rookie, will have to prove himself at the next level. He must show his positional coach, Adam Henry, that he can master the entire route tree. However, based on what we’re seeing, the 21-year-old certainly possesses the work ethic to earn the Cowboys’ trust — and quickly.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL