Being a first-round pick already comes with a great amount of pressure. When you add that not only are you a first-rounder of the Dallas Cowboys, but are also donning a number most recognized with greatness at your position, you’re kicking in the nitrous to those expectations. That doesn’t seem to bother Dallas’ first selection at the 2020 draft in CeeDee Lamb as the receiver will be following a similar path to a number of Cowboys greats and wear No. 88.
Of course, this is an extremely prestigious number in the franchise’s history as three former No. 88s (Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant) are currently in the top five of the club’s all-time receiving yards list.
Lamb wore No. 2 during his days at Oklahoma and expressed publicly that he’d be interested in wearing No. 10 in the NFL, but owner Jerry Jones seems to have persuaded him to pick up the mantel to not only follow in that tradition, but to also honor one of Jones’ old teammates at Arkansas in Jerry Lamb, who wore No. 88 and recently passed away.
“I said in honor of my great friend who just passed this year that we’re going to have his namesake come on here and wear old number 88. Just like Michael and Dez and those guys,” Jones said last weekend. “And we’ve got us a wide receiver. And let me tell you one thing, if he’s got the competes and heart of that Jerry Lamb, he’ll be bad to the bone.”
Pearson was first to put the No. 88 on a pedestal with the Cowboys, spending his entire ten-year NFL career in Dallas. Over that time, he was named to three Pro Bowls and led the league in receiving in 1977. He was later named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970’s and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2011.
After Pearson put down the number, Michael Irvin picked it up and sent it into legendary status as he enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with Dallas, winning three Super Bowls and finishing his career as the team’s leading receiver with 11,904 yards.
Upon being selected in the first round in the 2010 draft, Dez Bryant took the baton and had his own stellar career wearing No. 88 for Dallas. For a four-year stretch between 2011-2014, Bryant was one of the most feared receivers in the entire NFL, averaging around 1,215 yards receiving for a season to go along 84 receptions and just over 12 touchdowns. He’s also the club’s all-time leader in touchdowns with 73. Speaking of Bryant, who has been flirting with the idea about coming back to play with the Cowboys, this number assignment could be an indication that Dallas is moving on.
As for Lamb, he comes to Dallas with tremendous talent, tallying 62 receptions for the Sooners in 2019 for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. Alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, not only will he have a chance to start living up to that No. 88 title, but could form one of the deadliest receiving trios in the league.