Did Cardinals make mistake picking Isaiah Simmons over CeeDee Lamb in 2020 NFL draft?

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is off to a great start with the Dallas Cowboys, with 21 receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns through his first four games.

Some Arizona Cardinals followers have certainly noticed.

After all, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was a teammate of Lamb's at Oklahoma and lobbied for Arizona to draft him before the 2020 NFL draft.

Lamb went to the Cowboys with the No. 17 pick in the first round of that draft.

The Cardinals, who had the No. 8 pick in the draft, instead opted to take Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

Simmons has hardly seen the field for Arizona, and when he has, the results have been less than positive with Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury recently calling Simmons "a work in progress."

LOOK BACK:Not everyone likes Arizona Cardinals' selections in 2020 NFL draft

“We’re still trying to work him in,” Kingsbury told reporters. “We want to put him in positions to be successful, to understand our scheme. It’s a work in progress still. No offseason, no preseason — we knew it would take some time.  We’re a month in now and I think he is progressing but we’re going to continue to try and find ways to get him in where he can have success.”

Before the draft, Murray said told The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman that picking Lamb "would be great" for the Cardinals.

“Me and CeeDee have a great relationship,” Murray told McManaman. “That’s one of my boys. I would obviously be very fond of that pick. Obviously, I don’t make the choices. I’m here for whatever, but I’m looking forward to free agency and us adding some great players and adding more of them in the draft so we can continue to grow this thing. But yeah, if we pick CeeDee, that would be great. We have a very comfortable relationship. I’ve played with him, I’ve been with him for years, so yeah, I don’t think that would be a bad pick at all.”

LOOK BACK:Arizona Cardinals' NFL draft rumblings include pairing CeeDee Lamb with Kyler Murray

The Arizona Cardinals could have paired CeeDee Lamb with Kyler Murray, but chose to draft Isaiah Simmons instead. Was it the right choice?

After the Cardinals traded for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the team's apparent need for a wide receiver wasn't as strong and talk of the team taking Lamb died down, although some NFL mock draft projections still recommended the wide receiver being Arizona's first pick.

Coincidentally, in an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM before the draft, Cardinals GM Steve Keim compared Lamb to Hopkins, who was then with the Houston Texans.

“You watch CeeDee Lamb and there are some things that come to mind when I watch him that remind me a little bit of DeAndre Hopkins,” he said. “You talk about a guy that maybe isn’t the fastest vertically, but is gritty, tough and runs great routes.”

In that same interview, Keim said that Murray was making it clear as to how he felt about Lamb potentially being the Arizona Cardinals' pick at No. 8.

“From my text stream, you can tell Kyler likes him," Keim said on the Doug & Wolf Show. “You always would also lean towards guys that you know. If you know the person or you have confidence in who they are, through the information you obtain, it certainly gives you more confidence.”

LOOK BACK:Arizona Cardinals could still pick CeeDee Lamb in NFL draft after DeAndre Hopkins trade

Lamb caught 62 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns last season at Oklahoma.

With Murray as his quarterback in 2018, he had 65 receptions for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Would it have been nice to see what they could have done together again as NFL teammates, even with Hopkins on the Cardinals' roster?

Kliff Kingsbury's offense certainly appears like it could use another threat at wide receiver.

Some Cardinals followers seem to have already had enough time to evaluate Simmons:

They think Arizona made a mistake taking Simmons and lamented the fact that the team didn't go with Lamb after the team's loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.

LOOK BACK:Kyler Murray continues to lobby for Arizona Cardinals to pick CeeDee Lamb in NFL draft

Others said that Simmons could just need more time, and more of an opportunity.

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