After a disappointing 8-8 season, the Dallas Cowboys entered the offseason with a few question marks at key positions. The team’s CB1 Byron Jones signed a five-year, 82.5 million dollar contract with the Miami Dolphins making him the league’s top-paid cornerback. Veteran Wide Receiver Randall Cobb, after gaining nearly 900 yards as the third option in 2019, headed down I-45 South to the Houston Texans on a three-year, 27 million dollar deal.
The Cowboys filled these holes within the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and not that it was surprising they did, but it was who they were able to fill in those spots with.
Shockingly, Oklahoma’s talented Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb saw Alabama studs Henry Ruggs III (12th) and Jerry Jeudy (15th) go before him in the draft, even though he himself was rated as the top prospect at the position by most evaluators. However, this worked out perfectly for the Cowboys at 17 when they were able to add Lamb and his dynamic skill set.
Many thought the Cowboys would go the Safety route in the second round, but an unexpected turn of events occurred. One of college football’s top cornerbacks, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, was there for the taking at 51, and the Cowboys didn’t hesitate.
Unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the normal protocol for the NFL when it comes to the offseason, players have been limited in their ability to build chemistry which is desperately needed entering a new season. Zoom calls and group text messaging help somewhat, but there’s nothing like being on the field getting work in.
These two rookies, however, have been steady in their preparation for 2020. As I reported almost three weeks ago, Lamb was seen in a backyard running routes in his Cowboys helmet, while Diggs got in some work with footwork/movement specialist J. Hicks as well as battling receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and his older brother Stefon Diggs.
That continuous grind hasn’t stopped for either one of these supremely talented first-year pro’s.
Lamb, much like he did weeks ago, was seen recently working on his route running once again. He looked very fluid with an explosive fake before turning upfield, displaying really good start to stop quickness. With him operating in the slot primarily but also on the outside, his technique being up to par will only aid in his ability to produce in both spots.
Diggs was also back grinding, once again with J. Hicks, and much like Lamb a few weeks ago, he got in work wearing his Cowboys helmet during a ball tracking drill. Also, he continued working on his footwork with backpedaling and change of direction drills.
The Cowboys essentially got two first-round level players within the first 51 picks in Lamb and Diggs and considering they were both at the very top of their respective positions before the draft, the value in both picks is insane.
Lamb will take over as the Cowboys third option at receiver. As mentioned earlier, he’ll play in both the slot and on the outside, potentially creating more favorable one-on-one matchups for Amari Cooper (who will also lineup in multiple spots) and Michael Gallup, who are each coming off of 1,100-yard seasons. This amount of firepower could make the Cowboys passing attack even more potent than it was in 2019 when Dak Prescott threw for a near franchise-record 4,902 yards.
Diggs is expected to seize the reigns as the Cowboys number one corner. With his background as a receiver, he has adequate ball skills and route anticipation that give him an advantage over most players at his position. He’s another potential ball-hawking playmaker at the corner position, much like Jourdan Lewis, who has a good chance of winning the nickel/slot corner role over Anthony Brown.
It’s one thing to have talent, which Lamb and Diggs are extremely blessed with, but it’s another thing to possess the drive necessary to go along with it to perfect your craft. So far this offseason, Lamb and Diggs have continuously put in the work to be impactful rookies early and often.