The one position that no one seems too concerned about in Dallas these days is the running back position for the Cowboys. The starting running back position is as close to being set in stone as possible with Ezekiel Elliott as the primary ball carrier. Elliott has performed well enough over the past few seasons to warrant the contract extension he received before the 2019 season. However, the running back corral for the Cowboys has additional players besides Elliott to carry the ball and we will examine each running back.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Cowboys hoped for. The Cowboys drafting him fourth overall in 2016 looks like a good move. During his four-year career, Elliott has rushed 5,405 yards and 40 touchdowns while also racking up over 1,000 yards receiving. Running backs tend to have a short shelf life in the NFL these days. However, the Cowboys expect Elliott to continue to put up impressive numbers over the next few years. With Mike McCarthy at the helm, the Cowboys’ offense may see Elliott get fewer carries than in past seasons, but he still should feature heavily in the offense.
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The running back that has become more and more intriguing over the past few months is Tony Pollard. In 2019, Pollard proved that he could contribute to the offense. Pollard rushed for 455 yards on 83 carries, giving him an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Those numbers are evidence that Pollard can come in and contribute and give Elliott a much-needed break. Pollard was effective in the passing game as well racking up 15 receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown. Pollard will likely see his role increase in the passing game this season. Pollard’s work in the passing game will give opposing defensive coordinators another worry to deal with.
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Dallas will have two additional running backs to evaluate during training camp that include Rico Dowdle out of South Carolina and Darius Anderson from TCU. Dowdle was impressive at South Carolina, but he did battle injuries while he was a Gamecock. However, during Dowdle’s college career, he rushed for over 2,000 yards. Dowdle was signed as an undrafted free agent. He will have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot with the Cowboys. Meanwhile, Darius Anderson will also have an opportunity to compete for playing time as well. Anderson rushed for over 2,400 yards and racked up 18 touchdowns during his career as a Horned Frog. Should Dallas choose to keep a fullback on the roster, Sewo Olonilua, an undrafted free agent out of TCU, provides an impressive run blocker and a good pass blocker.
Elliott and Pollard are guaranteed to make the roster this season. However, should one go down to injury look, for Anderson or Dowdle to see some playing time for the Cowboys this season. The Cowboys’ running game is a strong facet of the team’s makeup. The Cowboys’ rushing attack should continue to give opposing defenses plenty of headaches as we head into what is certain to be a strange 2020 season.