The Dallas Cowboys' draft was, objectively, great. Their offseason was solid in general. By all accounts, Jerry Jones has done a magnificent job lately, but even with a pitch-perfect several months, he still can't veer away from crafting strange and unnecessary drama.
After a precipitous fall, he selected CeeDee Lamb in the first round, and he's a promising athlete who is primed to become their next great wide receiver. To further emphasize the occasion, Jones bestowed the No. 88 upon Lamb, which is no small honor among Cowboys players.
The number was previously worn by Dez Bryant, Michael Irvin and scores of great Cowboys receivers, and it's taken on a life of its own as more of an award than a regular number. The problem? Lamb has done nothing to earn it. Lamb didn't even want the number!
The Cowboys often get caught up in their own mystique. They're America's Team! However, each year for all of the hype and all of the speculation that they'll make the Super Bowl year after year, they haven't made the big game since 1996. Dallas just has a history of unreasonably hyping themselves up.
Lamb could be the best receiver to emerge from the draft. He could be a Hall of Famer. He could don a ten gallon hat and take to the prairie to become a real cowboy. Anything could happen, but Jones is already saddling the guy with a number that carries the weight of some of the best players in franchise history against his will, a franchise that's more beloved than almost any team in the country. All the support in the world isn't going to relieve that pressure.
No matter how promising Lamb is, the decision to give him the Cowboys' most revered number when all he really wanted was to blaze his own path and rock No. 10 is wildly premature. Jerry Jones just can't stop getting in his own way by hyping his own team up.