Slot Machine: Cowboys CeeDee Lamb dominated the inside in rookie campaign

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Matthew Lenix
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The Dallas Cowboys hit on several picks in the 2020 NFL draft. Cornerback Trevon Diggs, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, and center Tyler Biadasz all contributed significantly and showed promise as building blocks for the future. However, one rookie outshined them all, and that was wide receiver CeeDee Lamb who was selected No. 17 overall.

Joining Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup to form a dynamic trio of pass catchers for Dak Prescott, Lamb didn’t waste any time setting the expectations high for himself after being named the top receiver in Cowboys training camp back in August by the staff writers for the team’s website. While Cooper and Gallup did work on the outside, Lamb was dominant in the slot in 2020.

The former Oklahoma Sooner led all receivers in 20+ yard receptions from the slot according to Pro Football Focus. It didn’t stop there though, as his 69 receptions and 877 yards from the slot were the most by a rookie receiver since 2006.

Lamb finished just shy of the 1,000-yard plateau with 935 and added five scores. What makes his stat line more impressive is that he only played five games with Prescott. While he had him on the field, Lamb was on pace for 93 receptions and 1,385 yards.

He ended up second in receptions, third in yards, and fourth in touchdowns for all rookie receivers. Lamb would also put his name in the record books as well. His 74 receptions broke the team’s rookie record of 46 in 1965 by Hall of Famer Bob Hayes and he became the first receiver in league history with five or more receptions in his first six games.

The Cowboys finished a disappointing 6-10 in 2020, mostly due to a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball. Lamb recently made an appearance on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” and stated he expects the Cowboys to be better in 2021 in terms of preparation and health.

Lamb has already shown he’s going to be one of the league’s best at the receiver position for the foreseeable future, and the fact that he’s only one year into his career means a lot of sleepless nights for defensive coordinators around the NFL are on the horizon.

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