Dallas Cowboys resist trade offers, take CeeDee Lamb in NFL draft

Cowboys draft CeeDee Lamb at No. 17 (0:48)

The Cowboys boost their offense by taking former Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick. (0:48)

CeeDee Lamb said he did not know where he would fall in the first round of the NFL draft, but the Dallas Cowboys certainly never expected him to be available with the 17th overall pick.

With an opportunity too good to pass up, the Cowboys selected the Oklahoma wide receiver in Thursday's first round, marking the first time they took a receiver in the top round since Dez Bryant in 2010.

The Cowboys entered the first round thinking defense, especially after losing cornerback Byron Jones and pass-rusher Robert Quinn in free agency. They had their chance to select LSU pass-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson, but went with the best-available-player approach by taking Lamb.

In fact, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Lamb was the sixth-rated player on their draft board, and the Cowboys passed on three different trade-down opportunities.

"Lamb prevailed," Jones said. "We just didn't want to miss him. Those trades ultimately are supposed to add another player to be valuable, but we couldn't trump him. He was just there. He's a football player. He's a playmaker. He just earned it."

Entering the draft, many expected Lamb to be the first receiver selected among one of the deeper groups in recent memory. Instead, he was the third behind Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders, No. 12) and Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos, No. 15), the two former Alabama stars.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys did not do a pre-draft mock that had Lamb available at 17.

"We felt like he was a top-10 player in this draft and we'd never see him," Stephen Jones said.

Lamb said he had one conversation with the Cowboys during the pre-draft process, at the scouting combine in February.

"I didn't know they'd take me, but when I saw my phone, it honestly surprised me," Lamb said. "It was everything I dreamed of on that phone call."

Lamb is added to a receiver group that includes Amari Cooper, who signed a five-year, $100 million deal that included $40 million fully guaranteed, and Michael Gallup. Both receivers had more than 1,000 yards last season, and Cooper was added to the Pro Bowl.

Lamb had two 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma and scored 32 touchdowns in 41 games.

"He's a dynamic football player," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. "He carries that alpha status. The ability to play what I refer to as all four positions, inside, outside, move around, create favorable matches as we move into the upcoming season. We want to have flexibility to move all our perimeter players around. By far felt he was a dynamic player with the ball in his hands."

The Cowboys figure to have an explosive offense with the trio of wide receivers, running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and a solid offensive line, even after the retirement of center Travis Frederick, with tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zack Martin.

"You can't have enough playmakers," McCarthy said. "Any time you can add a playmaker to your offense, it creates more opportunities for everybody else."