2020 NFL redraft: Arizona Cardinals should have picked CeeDee Lamb over Isaiah Simmons

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Before the 2020 NFL draft, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray lobbied for his team to pick his former Oklahoma teammate, CeeDee Lamb, with their first-round selection (No. 8 overall).

The team chose to go in a different direction, however, taking Clemson defensive standout Isaiah Simmons.

One site thinks the Cardinals should have listened to their quarterback.

ESPN released a redraft of the 2020 NFL draft Tuesday and it had the Cardinals taking Lamb at No. 8 overall.

The wide receiver ended up going to the Dallas Cowboys with the No. 17 pick in the draft.

ESPN wrote: "The Cardinals needed another top-tier wide receiver in their offense to make it go at the high-octane speed that Kliff Kingsbury prefers. Lamb would give the Cardinals the ideal complement to DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, and he’d also allow for an easy transition between WR and QB considering he played with Kyler Murray in college — and in a pandemic-shortened offseason, that would’ve come in handy."

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

“Me and CeeDee have a great relationship,” Murray told The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman before the 2020 draft. “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.”

After the Cardinals traded for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason, 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.”

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Nov. 22: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb catches a touchdown in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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.”

Lamb caught 62 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final 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?

According to its 2020 NFL redraft, ESPN evidently thinks so. Others probably agree.

Lamb had 74 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie for the Cowboys, adding a rushing score despite the issues at quarterback in Dallas.

Simmons showed improvement throughout the season for the Cardinals, ending up with 54 combined tackles, two sacks an interception and a fumble recovery in Arizona.

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