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Trading card lawsuits aside, CeeDee Lamb is a headline item for the Dallas Cowboys. The latter was true prior to the 2022 decision to trade four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns and then losing Cedrick Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins in NFL free agency, but it's even more true after those two events. That's because even with the re-signing of Michael Gallup to a five-year deal, and particularly assuming Gallup could miss the start of the season in his recovery from a torn ACL, it's truly Lamb's show in the receiver room.

Never one to shy away from the challenge, Lamb spoke with media from the first week of Cowboys OTAs to explain his thought process on what he's now inherited from Cooper. 

"Most importantly just stepping up regardless of any situation, first down, second down, just always being that guy that everybody can count on, and by everyone I mean everyone in this locker room," Lamb said Wednesday. "I want to be accounted for. I want to be that guy. ... That's just me and my competitiveness, my competitive nature. 

"It's kind of how I grew up playing football. I'm always [ready] for my name to be called."

The 23-year-old also revealed he remains in touch with Cooper, but stopped short of divulging the details of their conversations.

"Of course, of course. I'm going to keep that between us," he said. "That's my guy. Have a great relationship with him."

Additionally, Lamb's locker has been relocated to one directly beside quarterback Dak Prescott, at Prescott's request -- a coronation of sorts for Lamb.

"I kind of need to be next to him," Lamb said. "We got to get this ball rolling."

For his part, owner Jerry Jones is as excited as anyone, particularly given the fact he helped ... nudge ... Lamb into wearing the No. 88 jersey to begin his career with the Cowboys (it wasn't Lamb's initial choice). In speaking to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jones reportedly stated his belief that Lamb is being viewed as an upgrade over Cooper as the top receiver in Dallas -- a statement Jones immediately framed as no slight to Cooper but rather an acknowledgement of the struggles the Pro Bowler had in Dallas versus what the ceiling is on Lamb going forward.

CeeDee Lamb
DAL • WR • 88
TAR120
REC79
REC YDs1102
REC TD6
FL0
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Lamb enters the 2022 season having gleaned as much as he could from his time with Cooper in Dallas, often in awe at the latter's ability to run routes and usually seen picking the Pro Bowler's brain for tips and tricks. It's now time for him to put all he's learned into action, and he also understands that being WR1 means he will no longer be mostly relegated to slot duty. While there will still be slot action in his repertoire, he'll do much more work on the outside (both sides) going forward.

"It's a little bit of everything: movement, positioning, but that's all for the better and kind of helping me grow as a player," said Lamb on Wednesday. "Understanding different looks, understanding how the defense is going to play, and understanding my approach, so different ways you can look at it, but you got to find a happy medium."

Lamb has already been on the precipice of taking the next step, earning his first nod as a Pro Bowler in 2021 after racking up 1,102 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season. That followed a breakout rookie year that saw him rack up 935 receiving yards and six touchdowns. During his first two NFL seasons, he's averaged 13.3 yards per reception.

The talent is undeniable, yes, but Lamb understands the crown is heavy. And now that it's his, he's working to make sure he can carry it, and well, for the Cowboys.