The season that the Dallas Cowboys have received from first-round draft pick CeeDee Lamb has been more than they could have bargained for. Lamb was a great talent coming out of the University of Oklahoma, but it's long been documented the struggles that rookie wide receivers have making the transition to the NFL.
Playing with four quarterbacks — Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert, and Ben DiNucci — Lamb has hit the ground running in his first season with the Cowboys. He has an opportunity to pass one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the NFL in one of the most important statistics there is; third-down receiving yards.
With just 12 more receiving yards, CeeDee Lamb can pass former Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrell Owens for the most third-down receiving yards in a season for the Cowboys since 1993.
If Lamb gets 12 yards on third downs on Sunday, he'll pass Owens from 2008 (382) and Owens from 2007 (390) for the most by a Cowboys player since at least 1993. (I haven't found any splits for seasons prior to 1994 yet.) https://t.co/T6dMTU8VOF
Lamb has 43 receptions that have resulted in a first down per Pro Football Focus. 29 of those have come on third down, which is second only to Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers.
CeeDee Lamb is tied for 7th with Waller/Ridley on 3rd down catches turned into 1st down conversions.
379 of his yards have came on 3rd down via 26 catches on 38 targets. 14.58 YPA
That's 2nd to only Davante Adams pic.twitter.com/v4a66SApys
It didn't take long for CeeDee Lamb to earn the trust of his coaches and quarterbacks. In his first six games with the Cowboys, Lamb received 49 targets. He's had fewer than five targets in just one game all season. Had he kept that pace from the first six games, Lamb would have finished the season with 130 targets. At the moment, he's at just 102 targets on the season.
He's played incredibly tough all season long, going over the middle and making catches in traffic as the Cowboys' primary slot wide receiver.
Lamb has seen 93.4% of his snaps from the slot, second in the NFL among players who have played at least 257 snaps in the slot. Lamb's 439 snaps from the slot are second in the NFL only to Juju Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Lamb's 834 receiving yards from the slot are second only to Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills.
With Lamb's ability to win at all levels of the defense using excellent route running, physicality, athleticism, and an incredible catch radius, he became one of the more important weapons for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.
As the Cowboys get ready to close out the season, CeeDee Lamb has put on an incredible rookie year despite some of the circumstances the offense dealt with in 2020. He's one of the few bright spots for a team that will have just their third losing season since 2005.
As they get set to play the New York Giants on Sunday, Lamb is a big reason this team has a chance to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. It's his work on third down that has kept so many drives going and helped the Cowboys find a spark on offense over the last half of the season.
Before the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys' offense's potential over the next few years was looking bright. With CeeDee Lamb at wide receiver, it looks even brighter.