Will Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb be an upgrade over Amari Cooper?
And after the team parted ways with Amari Cooper during the offseason, the young stalwart has no choice but to step into the role.
It's a task he says he's ready to take on.
"I've been ready," Lamb said last week regarding his new responsibility. "That's just me and my competitiveness. That's in my nature. It's kind of how we grew up playing football. I'm always ready for my name to be called.
"Just stepping up regardless of any situation," Lamb emphasized as one of his central goals for 2022. "First down, second down — just always being that guy that everyone can count on. I want to be that guy."
Lamb hauled in 79 catches for 1,102 yards and six TDs in 2021 as Dak Prescott's second option behind Cooper last season.
But without Coop in the mix this season, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will have opportunities to shift No. 88 into different slots along the line of scrimmage. According to FOX Sports writer Bucky Brooks, that freedom to maneuver could net him an upwards of 1,500 yards next season.
If Lamb gets touches as frequently as most No. 1 receivers around the league — the top-10 target totals ranged from 146 to 191 last season — he should easily top the 100-catch mark and finish with somewhere around 1,500 receiving yards. It's quite possible he could rack up double-digit touchdowns, too. Those kinds of numbers will not only put him into consideration as a top-five receiver, but he could vie for the receiving triple crown (receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions) if Dak Prescott finds him early and often in the passing game.
'Boys head coach Mike McCarthy is expecting a lot from the former Sooner as well.
"This is a great opportunity for him personally," McCarthy said this week. "I think just the way we've established the offense, particularly in the passing game, the ability for those guys to play different positions, to create matchups and make it harder on the defense to double you and those type of things — my point is, playing in the slot a lot last year and now playing the flanker position (where Cooper played).
"And we understand his rise in Year 3, that he's going to get a lot more attention from the defense. But he's doing all of the little things that are needed to get him ready to be the No. 1 guy."
And in team owner Jerry Jones' mind, Lamb is already a step up from Cooper.
Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Lamb would be an upgrade over Dallas' former WR1, citing Cooper's injury issues as one reason for that. He emphasized that he wasn't slighting Cooper, but opining that Lamb was a more complete option due to his "production, in the huddle and off the field."
Just like his owner, Lamb's fully confident in his own abilities, and he's getting closer to Prescott by the daily with a new locker right next to his QB. That, plus 10 pounds of added muscle could spell trouble for a number of secondaries around the league.