2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
It should not surprise anyone if CeeDee Lamb ends up being the first wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. His resume is sterling, he comes from a school that has produced a slew of NFL wideouts and the debate between him and Jerry Jeudy might be more related to what the NFL wants them to do as opposed to who is “better”. Lamb and Jeudy are both of the correct size to play on the perimeter or in the slot and neither are so finicky with their route running that they would be a specific “system fit”. Lamb will be a good NFL player regardless of where he is drafted but just how good will depend on the context he is placed in of course.
CeeDee Lamb NFL Prospect Profile Scouting Report
Every time we talk about a prospect who is a wide receiver or tight end, the first thing we should look at is “When did this prospect start playing in college” and if the answer was a true freshman than we can already put them in a bucket of players that we typically expect to project very well to the NFL level. Lamb was a four-star recruit and got offers from Alabama and Texas but decided (correctly, might I add) to go play for the Oklahoma Sooners. His three quarterbacks in college were Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. He played alongside Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, and Rodney Anderson during his time at OU. Similar to Jerry Jeudy, there are some (small) questions about Lamb’s market share numbers and they can partially be explained by some of his teammates.
Lamb entered the scene right away for the Sooners as a true freshman, catching three passes in his first game and finishing his true freshmen season third on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Lamb had six receptions for 66 yards as a true freshman in the college football playoff against Georgia and an absurd 9-147-2 line against Texas Tech in the famous Baker Mayfield vs Patrick Mahomes game. As an 18-year-old in the Big 12, Lamb posted a 17% market share of Oklahoma’s receiving yards while scoring seven touchdowns. This does not technically move him into “breakout territory” (generally defined as over 25% market share) but given that he was third in receiving on a team that made the college football playoff as an 18-year-old, I am going to count it for my purposes.
While Hollywood Brown got more headlines in 2018 with Kyler Murray, Brown and Lamb’s production was pretty similar. Brown went on to be a first-round draft pick to the Baltimore Ravens (a very positive signal to Lamb’s future NFL value) and in the 2018 season, Brown had 75 receptions to Lamb’s 65, 1,318 yards to Lamb’s 1,158 and 10 touchdowns to Lamb’s 11. Lamb upped his Dominator Rating to 26% while playing along with a future first-round draft pick. We really could not ask for much more than that from an analytics perspective. Additionally, he had a 6-109-1 line against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the college football playoff semi-final.
Lamb got banged up and missed a game (and half of another) during his final season at Oklahoma but he lead the Sooners in scrimmage yards, touchdowns (Non-Jalen Hurts division) all while averaging 19 yards per touch. His dominator rating rose to an absurd 39% of the Sooners’ passing offense while adding in 20 rushing yards and a touchdown there as well. Oklahoma again made it to the college football playoff semi-final and again got their doors blown off with Lamb having a good game (4-119).
Every year at OU: Lamb got better in terms of raw production and market share, he shined alongside future NFL players and is coming into the NFL at the age of 20. Lamb was nominated for the Biletnikoff Award in his final season at OU and made first-team All American. This is what an A+ prospect at wide receiver looks like.
Projecting CeeDee Lamb To The NFL
As we have established, Lamb is what you look for in a NFL wide receiver prospect. At 6’2, 190 pounds he is of the ideal frame to be moved around the formation. He can be the pre-snap motion guy (a la Tyreek Hill), he can be the slot-only possession grinder (though that would be a waste) or an outside burner. Lamb spent his time at OU playing in an offense that will be very similar to what many NFL teams are running in terms of play-calling, route combinations, and terminology whereas if he had played somewhere like, let us say, Alabama, the translation would not be as much of a one-to-one.
The film watchers might like Lamb even more than some of the “metric” scouts, such as myself, do. Chris Trapasso from CBS Sports wrote on Lamb “At 6-2 and 191 pounds, Lamb has good size to play on the perimeter. And his game checks all the boxes. He creates separation at all levels of the field with precise routes, uses noticeable quickness to beat press at the line, is outstanding in contested-catch/high-point situations and reasonably talented after the catch. Also, he possesses ideal body control to make tough snags near the sideline. Lamb doesn’t have incendiary speed but has enough juice to threaten down the field, and his ball skills make him a legitimate deep-ball option. “
Mock drafts from all around the football industry have Lamb projected to go as early as number 12 overall to the Oakland Raiders. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the most likely selection for Lamb but a sleeper team for him is the Arizona Cardinals at number eight. With Christian Kirk failing to prove himself as a bonafide #1 NFL wide receiver and Larry Fitzgerald aging another year, it seems clear the Cardinals offense is begging out for a true engine to power their Air Raid attack. Lamb was an elite Air Raid wide receiver in college at Oklahoma and is the perfect scheme fit with Kliff Kingsbury. Given how highly we expect him to be drafted, Lamb should be a top-four pick in rookie dynasty fantasy football drafts with the only debate being him or Jeudy.