CeeDee Lamb will serve as the Dallas Cowboys' top wide receiver in 2022 after the franchise traded Amari Cooper to Cleveland this offseason, and the current Browns receiver believes his former teammate is up to the challenge.
"CeeDee's been ready," Cooper said Friday during an appearance on 96.7 The Ticket, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. "Again, it's just about opportunity. I think if Kellen [Moore, the offensive coordinator] decides to feature him, he's definitely ready to step up. CeeDee is a playmaker."
With Cooper in Cleveland and Michael Gallup recovering from a torn ACL, Lamb will need to be Dallas' unquestioned leader in the passing game.
But while Cooper was considered the Cowboys' No. 1 receiver last season, Lamb actually eclipsed his numbers. The second-year wideout caught 79 passes for 1,102 yards, both of which led the team, and six touchdowns, which ranked second behind Cooper's and Dalton Schultz's eight. For comparison, Cooper caught 68 passes for 865 yards.
It's no surprise that the Cowboys were comfortable with relying on Lamb as their No. 1 receiver this coming season.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy also addressed Lamb's readiness for the role while speaking with reporters last month:
“CeeDee’s clearly at the top of the list. You got to get the ball to your playmakers. Ball distribution is a constant focal point for us when we talk offensive football. We talk about how many touches we want the perimeter players to have every game. Clearly whoever plays the flanker position is going to be in a primary situation where he’s going to be the number one read in a lot of progressions. He’s definitely ready for that opportunity.”
Dallas selected Lamb 27th overall in the 2020 draft. During his rookie season when Dak Prescott played only five games, the Oklahoma product caught 74 passes for 935 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 82 yards and a score.
Beyond Lamb, the Cowboys can turn to James Washington, Simi Fehoko, Jalen Tolbert and Noah Brown out wide.
However, if Gallup misses the beginning of the season, the Cowboys will likely also rely more on Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in the running game.
The team finished the 2021 season first in the NFC East with a 12-5 record but was eliminated with a wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas is hoping to make a deep playoff run for the first time since they won Super Bowl XXX in 1996.