FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have made no secret about CeeDee Lamb's special teams ability.
Their impressive, first-round draft pick returned 54 punts at Oklahoma, and the Cowboys wasted no time giving him reps in that role during training camp. Even still, that ability takes another level of meaning when it's mentioned by the front office.
Asked about Lamb during his weekly interview with 105.3 FM The Fan on Thursday, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones endorsed the idea.
"It's not going to surprise me to see him back there potentially helping in the return game, as well," he said.
It speaks to the talent Lamb has showcased during these two weeks of training camp. The expectations were already high, given that the rookie was drafted No. 17 overall and widely considered the best receiver in this draft class. But since suiting up in his new uniform, Lamb has looked like everything but a first-year player.
If not for the fact that his helmet does not yet have a decal – a noted tradition among Cowboy rookies who have not yet officially made the team – it'd be hard to tell he hasn't done this before.
"I think he's exceeded all expectations," Jones said. "He's got, I think, rare football IQ. I think it comes natural to him, whether it's his route-running and his feel for the game, whether it's catching the ball, whether it's his ability to accelerate after the catch. Everything just seems to click with him, and I know his teammates have certainly enjoyed him."
It goes without saying that Lamb will hold down one of the three primary receiver slots, but there's also precedent for return duties. It was just 10 years ago that the Cowboys let Dez Bryant return punts in the early going of his career. As a rookie, he returned 15 punts for 215 yards, an average of 14.3 yards per return, and scored two touchdowns.
It wouldn't be surprising if Lamb's opportunities are limited in an effort to prevent injury. But it certainly sounds like they're going to try to get their rookie as many touches as possible.