After news broke Dallas Cowboys first-round pick CeeDee Lamb chose to wear number 88 social media was flooded with comments on Jerry Jones once again showing his overbearing side.
Though it’s most likely possible Lamb was influenced by the owner to wear the historic number, the fact now remains he will be the next member of the “88 clubs.”
It’s one of the most recognizable numbers in the history of the team from Drew Pearson to Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant, and now CeeDee Lamb (we try to forget Antonio Bryant).
Expectations were already high for Lamb with many declaring him the best wide receiver in the draft. Here’s how his 88 predecessors performed during their rookie year with the Cowboys.
Rookie Year: 22 rec, 388 yards, 2 touchdowns
In 1973, Drew Pearson was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys and made the team as a third-team wide receiver because of his special teams play.
As a rookie, he replaced Otto Stowe after Stowe suffered a broken ankle in the seventh game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. Stowe’s backup, Mike Montgomery, also fell to injury in the next game.
Pearson appeared in 14 games with six starts, making 22 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie Year: 32 receptions, 654 yards, 5 touchdowns
Michael Irvin was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 11th selection in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft.
He was the last first-round draft pick made by the Cowboys under the leadership of long-time general manager Tex Schramm, player personnel director Gil Brandt, and coach Tom Landry (Schramm predicted that Irvin would accelerate the Cowboys’ “return to the living”).
Irvin became the first rookie receiver in Cowboys’ history to start a season opener in 20 years, in which he caught his first career touchdown.
He also caught three touchdown passes in the Cowboys’ win over the Washington Redskins, one of only three wins that season and the final one of Landry’s career. He finished the season leading the NFC with a 20.4 yards per catch average.
Rookie Year: 44 receptions, 733 yards, 6 touchdowns
Antonio Bryant was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, after dropping because of character concerns.
He was given number 88 with the expectation of developing into a great player and was the first rookie wide receiver to start in a season opener since Michael Irvin.
At the time, his 44 receptions ranked third, his 733 receiving yards ranked fourth and his six touchdown receptions ranked second all-time for a Cowboys rookie in a season.
Rookie Year: 45 receptions, 561 yards, 6 touchdowns
After dropping because of character concerns, the Cowboys traded up with the New England Patriots, moving from the 27th to the 24th position to select Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Bryant made his NFL debut against the Washington Redskins and had eight receptions for 56 yards.
In the next game, he had a punt return touchdown in the 27–20 loss to the Chicago Bears.
On October 17, Bryant caught his first NFL touchdown catch, on a 31-yard pass from Tony Romo.
In a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, at Cowboys Stadium on October 25, 2010, Bryant caught four passes for 54 yards, two of them for touchdowns, and also returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown, making the longest Cowboys’ punt return since Dennis Morgan’s 98-yard return during the 1974 NFL season.
On November 15, 2010, Bryant caught three passes for 104 yards and one touchdown, to become the first Cowboys rookie with a 100+ yard game since Antonio Bryant.
During the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 38–35 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, Bryant went down with a fractured ankle.
Indianapolis’ Kavell Connerheld fell onto Bryant’s leg while tackling him on a kickoff return. He was placed on the injured reserve list and had surgery on the fractured ankle. He left the game with one catch for 14 yards and a 35.7-yard average on three kickoff returns.
Bryant finished his rookie season with 45 receptions for 561 yards and six touchdowns. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team for the 2010 season.
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