Running Back by Committee? NO!: Which RB Should the Dallas Cowboys Draft?
By Ricky Castro (manager of @trueselective)
Until Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles made it cool to have 2 or more running backs in their regular offensive scheme, in football there has always been one featured back. Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Ricky Waters, Eric Dickerson, OJ Simpson (before he murdered Nicole), and the list goes on with every team featuring only one guy getting the ball in the backfield. The Dallas Cowboys had a long stretch without a feature back after Emmitt Smith. DeMarco Murray effectively served this role for a few years in Dallas, but the Cowboys front office chose not to re-sign him.
The Dallas Cowboys need to draft a franchise feature running back and not depend on a running back by committee. Their offensive line was considered the best in football. This past year, the Dallas Cowboys brain trust took the chance on inserting any running back into the starting lineup after choosing not to pay Murray.
They went with Lance Dunbar, a versatile, shifty, great pass catcher out of the backfield type. He was great for 2nd and 3rd downs. For first downs they went with Joseph Randle at times or Darren McFadden. Darren McFadden had a decent year but no where near where the Cowboys expected. Also, Tony Romo was injured and the running game did little to lift the Cowboys during Tony’s absence. How did Joseph Randle do? He can tell you over a game of ping pong.
As such, the Cowboys brain trust just needs to get back to the basics and draft a running back that is productive and smart. If minds like Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, and Bill Belichick can do it then so can an oil rich family with a guy who graduated from Harvard right? RIGHT?!
Well, since Jimmy won’t give you the skinny on which running backs to draft I guess I’ll have to.
(1) Matt Brieda – Georgia Southern
Matt Breida ran only 203 times for 1608 yards and scored 17 TDs. What stands out is his whopping 7.9 yards per carry. Since I don’t just go on stats, I have to watch some film and the film on this kid is FUN TO WATCH. This kid can fly. No one on the field will ever catch him in a foot race to the endzone. He has a long stride, which is common in all great NFL running backs, and is tough to take down on first contact. There is AMAZING value for him to be taken in the second round. Pay attention to the team whom drafts this guy.
(2) Larry Rose III – New Mexico State
Larry Rose III ran 240 times for 1651 yards and scored 14 TDs. It was good enough to earn him the 2015 Sunbelt Student Athlete of the year honors. His speed doesn’t jump out at you but its enough to not get caught from behind on long runs. I his production was in part due to the system he was in at New Mexico State, but he has many great attributes that can make him a feature back. One of them is his natural ability to stay patient as his blocks develop and then quickly take advantage of holes created in the defensive line. To me, he looks a lot like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ LeVeon Bell.
(3) Elijah Hood – North Carolina
I know. You have no idea whom this guy is. Well, you should because you are going to hear about this guy once established in the NFL. Last year he carried the ball 219 times for 1463 yards with 17 TDs with a per carry average of 6.7 yards. Compared to Ezekiel Elliott that’s only 70 less carries for 300+ yards and 6 TD difference. If you need an important yard or two, Hood is definitely the guy you want to handle the ball. He reminds me a lot of Todd Gurley and finishes runs really well.
Of course, anything can happen between now and the draft that can affect these players’ potential. However, I feel that I’ve identified certain attributes that make a good, if not great, running back in the NFL. Hopefully, I’m right on at least one. We’ll see, its why we watch and love football.