Cowboys Predicted to Add ‘Game-Breaking’ Playmaker to Help CeeDee Lamb

Cowboys potential draftee Nic Anderson

Getty Cowboys potential draftee Nic Anderson

One of the most interesting subplots of the upcoming NFL season for the Dallas Cowboys—and there are many subplots percolating already—is the development of the receiver corps behind star CeeDee Lamb. There’s no question want Lamb can do, but there is almost nothing but questions once we get past him on the depth chart.

OK, No. 2 man Brandin Cooks is a reliable veteran. But he’s also 31 and in the final year of his contract. It is unlikely he is the long-term answer as the second option behind Lamb. More immediately, the Cowboys do not have much of an answer at the No. 3 spot, either, not with disappointing speedster Michael Gallup having been set free to sign with the Raiders this offseason.

The Cowboys need someone to step up. Jalen Tolbert, the 2022 third-rounder, is the top candidate. He’s already penciled in as the starter alongside Lamb and Cooks. After that, though, it’s a crapshoot: rookie sixth-rounder Ryan Flournoy has speed and promise; last year’s seventh-rounder Jalen Brooks will get a look and special teams star KaVontae Turpin is on the docket, too.

But, long-term, the Cowboys need receivers. And at the analysis site 33rd Team, they’re predicted to add some in next April’s draft: Oklahoma star Nic Anderson.

Nic Anderson Could Bring Speed to WR Room

Outlining the projections for the 2025 draft more than nine months ahead of time is a dicey game. Babies who don’t currently exist will be conceived and born in that time span, after all. But the author of the 33rd Team mock draft, Ian Valentino has some idea where the Cowboys will be looking when the day comes along for them to make their selection.

It is almost certain to be a wide receiver.

“Unless the Dallas Cowboys see Jalen Tolbert breakout this season, there’s a massive need for a quality second playmaker next to CeeDee Lamb. Dallas can keep it local by taking third-year sophomore Nic Anderson from Oklahoma,” he writes.

“A game-breaking vertical threat at 6-foot-4, 209 pounds, Anderson is the prototypical X-receiver who takes the top off of defenses.”

It can be argued that, with Cooks aging, the Cowboys will look to next year’s draft for a receiver no matter what happens with Tolbert. They need depth in that room.

Anderson can potentially provide it. He has an NFL future—his brother, Rodney, was a running back for the Bengals, but he would need a strong 2024 campaign to secure a spot as a first-rounder. He played 13 games and caught 38 passes for 798 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.

Dallas Cowboys Counting on Jalen Tolbert

Putting a guy like Anderson into a receiving corps with Lamb will add speed, but the Cowboys are still hoping for a breakout from Tolbert, who had the opportunity to seize the No. 3 job in 2023, but did not do so. After getting single-digit snap counts in five of the first six weeks of the season, Tolbert topped 20 snaps every week from there, but still wound up with just 22 catches, 268 yards and 35 targets on the year.

He has worked closely with Dak Prescott this offseason, though. He spoke about what’s next to Dallas media earlier in OTAs.

“My confidence is through the roof,’’ Tolbert said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “Having fun in what you’re doing, being confident in what you’re doing.

“Continue to build that chemistry with Dak and my teammates as well and showing my value in his offense.’’

Tolbert said that rebuilding his confidence not only was a matter of working with Prescott, but was also a case of getting back to basics. He had to remind himself that he was a clear No. 1 back in his collegiate days, with an astounding 82 catches for 1,474 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season. He had also impressed personnel folks at the Senior Bowl that winter.

“My rookie year, I think I had lost every bit,’’ Tolbert said of his confidence. “I was thinking way more than I should instead of just going out there and having fun, knowing I belong here and am valuable at this level.

“That’s something I had to build back up.’’





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