(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss CeeDee Lamb's new role in the offense following the Amari Cooper trade to the Browns in March.)
11) Is CeeDee Lamb Ready For No. 1 WR Status?
Rob Phillips: Yes, I believe so. I'm not saying that will translate to 100 catches, because the Cowboys have been a take-what-the-defense-gives-us offense for years, all the way back to the Jason Garrett era. So I think there's some variance in how a No. 1 receiver is defined across the league. But Lamb is talented enough, and has been productive enough, to be the top option in an NFL offense. I get that we're in a pass-first league that's light-years different from past eras, but his numbers kind of speak for themselves: 2,037 career receiving yards, the second-highest total by a Cowboys wide receiver through his first two seasons, trailing only Bob Hayes (2,235 from 1965-66). There are areas in which he can improve, including cutting down on drops and overall consistency. But he's added weight and strength for this transition and he's expressed that he's very excited/motivated to become the focal point.
Mickey Spagnola: We're about to find out. Now a few weeks ago I was in the suspect category, not sure if he would flourish receiving increased defensive attention. But some site posted like a nine-minute highlight reel from last year of his 79 catches for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns, causing me to change my tune. Label me a believer now. Lamb has the speed, the route-running ability and savviness to take on that No. 1 role. All CeeDee must do to improve on last year's production is overcome those mental lapses, mostly trying to run with the ball before he makes the catch, causing him to needlessly drop too many catchable balls. Let's go.
Nick Eatman: Well, I can't be a hypocrite here. It's OK to change your mind about things, but from March to July? I basically didn't think, and still don't think, the Cowboys should've traded Amari Cooper. I felt like they had enough weapons in the passing game to create numerous mismatches. All that being said, if I really thought CeeDee Lamb was ready to just be the No. 1 guy by himself, I probably wouldn't have had that feeling about the Cooper trade. So right now, I guess I have my doubts. And part of that, is just the entire wide receiver position that includes Michael Gallup and his rehabbing knee, a third-round pick from South Alabama and a free agent who hasn't lived up to second-round expectations. I guess the real answer is to the "Is CeeDee ready" question ... he better be!