FRISCO - How does an NFL team stack its NFL Draft "Big Board''? Is it paying lip service to the idea of "Best Available Athlete''? Or does it bow to the realities of "need'' and veer off its rankings?
On Thursday night, to open this NFL Draft, the Cowboys - knowing full-well they need to improve their defense somehow - instead went "B.A.A.'' selecting the No. 6 player on their board with the No. 17 pick and nabbing Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb.
Does Dallas "need'' another receiver to complement incumbents Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup? No. But is Lamb more highly-regarded by the Cowboys personnel people than LSU pass-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson, who Dallas itself loved at 17 ... and found available at 17?
"Talent'' beat "need.'' Lamb won over Chaisson.
“He's definitely going to get an ultimate competitor,” Lamb said on ESPN after being picked by the Cowboys to team with Prescott. “A guy that's willing to learn and can't wait to get used to helping him look like a better quarterback and he's helping me look like a better receiver.”
The 6-1, 195-pound Lamb gobbled up 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns in three seasons at Oklahoma. He was the third pass-catcher off the board after Alabama's Henry Ruggs (No. 12 to Las Vegas Raiders) and Jerry Jeudy (No. 15 to Denver Broncos).
But the Cowboys had him ranked No. 6 on their board overall.
How can a team pass on the sixth-best player at 17?
Well, it happens all of the time. But not this time.
Lamb, who told 105.3 The Fan he plans to "rock (jersey No.) 10 (sorry, Tavon Austin), can play inside or out, but could help Dallas immediately as a slot guy. And the Cowboys' desire for help on the other side of the ball? It'll have to come on Days 2 and 3 of the draft.
Because on Day 1, they were busy doing the right - albeit unconventional - thing.