CeeDee Lamb is joining the Dallas Cowboys with lofty expectations, indicated by the #88 that the team just handed him to wear. But even with all the hype, would it be reasonable to think that the receiver has any shot at being the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year?
The Cowboys' offense was 2nd in the NFL last year in passing yards and 5th in touchdowns. There were plenty of stats to go around.
Even as the third receiver on the WR depth chart, Randall Cobb still had 55 catches for 828 yards and three touchdowns. That was especially admirable given the sizable roles that Jason Witten, Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin all had in the receiving game.
Now Cobb is in Houston and rookie CeeDee Lamb is replacing him in the offense. With Witten also departing for the Raiders, could there be an opportunity for Lamb to put up the stats needed for the OROY award?
Analysts are giving CeeDee a solid chance. Sports Betting Dime's Rookie of the Year odds gives him the 7th-highest probability of winning the award. Pro Football Focus ranked him 8th on their list of contenders.
That being said, history really isn't in Lamb's favor. Over the last 20 years the award has gone to eight quarterbacks and nine running backs. Only three times has it been a receiver:
- 2014 – Odell Beckham Jr.
- 2009 – Percy Harvin
- 2003 – Anquan Boldin
Both Beckham and Boldin had over 1,300 receiving yards each in those rookie years. Odell had 12 touchdowns and Boldin had eight. It would be hard for CeeDee Lamb to get anything close to those numbers, especially the yardage, without an injury to Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup.
However, Percy Harvin's rookie year does provide some hope. His recognition came more on his impact to a winning team than just a voluminous stat line.
Harvin had 60 catches for 790 yards and six scores as a receiver. He also chipped in 15 carries for 135 yards rushing. And while it technically shouldn't count towards an “Offensive” award, Percy's brilliant work as a return man that year helped get him noticed.
What really got Harvin the award was the Vikings' 12-4 record and his big plays in crucial moments to help them on their way.
That is where CeeDee Lamb has a legitimate shot at the award in 2020. Even if he's not a starter this year, Lamb will still be a major part of one of the league's projected top offenses.
It's not likely, bit Lamb just might wind up with the right combination of stats, big plays, and that big Cowboys spotlight to earn Offensive Rookie of the Year.