Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones joined Scott Van Pelt on ESPN this week, and he certainly had a lot to say.
Jones’ comments on quarterback Dak Prescott’s contract situation stole the headlines, but what he said about their newest weapon CeeDee Lamb was important as well.
Jones told Van Pelt that Lamb was the best “football player on our board” when pick 17 came up. He went on to say that they want to “surround (Dak Prescott) with good football players,” and Lamb is certainly one of those guys.
Lamb was incredibly productive in college, going for over 1,000 yards receiving in both 2018 and 2019. Lamb caught 60+ balls in each of those seasons as well, and scored 32 touchdowns over his three collegiate seasons.
Many considered CeeDee Lamb the best wide receiver in the 2020 draft class, but he ended up being the third one taken in the first round. Alabama teammates Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy both went ahead of Lamb, but there’s no doubt the Cowboys were ecstatic to have the Oklahoma playmaker fall into their lap.
What’s so important about Stephen Jones’ comments, though, is what it indicates about the Cowboys’ draft strategy.
Rather than reaching for a player they ranked below Lamb simply because it may have been at a bigger position of need, they went with the best player on their board and lived with the results. They then seemed to keep this strategy throughout the rest of the draft, and ended up landing good players and strong prospects in every round. This hasn’t always been the case in Dallas, most notably when the Cowboys reportedly “window dressed” their board to select Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton in 2017.
“Best player available” as a strategy is often a lie, but the Cowboys lived by that mantra for the majority of the 2020 draft.
And the results speak for themselves.