The Dallas Cowboys' selection of Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the No. 17 overall pick was one of the most widely praised moves of the 2020 NFL Draft. Lamb was considered a consensus top-two wideout in the draft, he was the No. 6 prospect on the Cowboys' internal draft board, and in the days and weeks leading up to the draft itself, almost no experts or mock-drafters or anybody else predicted that he'd still be on the board when the Cowboys came on the clock.
And yet, there he was. And so, the Cowboys passed on filling needs elsewhere in favor of accentuating one of their strengths. Dallas had one of the league's best offenses last season and a passing game that gained nearly 5,000 yards and accounted for 30 touchdowns. Now, they've replaced pure slot man Randall Cobb with one of the most explosive receiver prospects in the class.
The team's No. 1 wide receiver, Amari Cooper, is thrilled with the move. "I think it was a great pick up," Cooper said, per ESPN's Todd Archer. "You have to draft the best player on the board. Everybody understands that. He's a great receiver. I think with me and Michael Gallup going for 1,000 yards last year, the expectation is to have three 1,000-yard receivers this year."
Three 1,000-yard receivers on the same team? That's a heck of a thing to just expect. There have only been five instances in NFL history three players (regardless of position) each reaching the 1,000-yard mark in the same season, and only three instances of three wide receivers getting there. The most recent instance was the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston joining the club. (Before that, it was the 2004 Indianapolis Colts, with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley. The 1995 Falcons, 1989 Washington team, and 1984 Chargers joined those two squads on the list.)
So, can the 2020 Cowboys join them? Well, it's not at all out of the realm of possibility. First of all, they weren't too far away from joining the club last year. Cobb finished the season with 828 receiving yards on his 83 targets. Cooper finished with 1,189 and Gallup had 1,107 despite missing two games.
With Cobb, Jason Witten, and Tavon Austin no longer on the roster, there are 190 targets up for grabs. Blake Jarwin will likely siphon off some of Witten's, but he also had 41 targets of his own last season, which means Lamb could take Cobb's 83 and potentially some more. If he got into the 90-100 target range, a 1,000-yard season would seem firmly within his range of reasonable outcomes. That doesn't necessarily mean it should be the baseline expectation, but the Cowboys obviously envisioned something along those lines when they drafted him, so it's not surprising that they'd be thinking about it ahead of taking the field.