As Rookie Camp enters its third day, a lot of attention has been focused on Dallas Cowboys 4th overall selection Ezekiel Elliot. With expectations for him to immediately step in have over 250 carries and over 1,200 yards his rookie season; however the Cowboys are returning with the 4th leading rusher of 2015 in Darren McFadden. There has even been talks among fans and analysts that “Run DMC” may not even make the final 53 roster.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances of course.
McFadden is a high caliber professional who showed that he can be a productive back if he can remain healthy, cutting him would be a major mistake when you could have he and Zeke in the backfield. Which brings up the off season addition of 2 Time Pro Bowler Alfred Morris. Who is a powerful north-south runner that can finish runs when his pads are square, it currently looks as if he will be the short yardage back for the Cowboys receiving around three to five carries a game.
Darius Jackson from Eastern Michigan was one of the Cowboys 6th round selections and has chance to compete on Special Teams. With Lance Dunbar expected to enter the season on PUP, there is a possibility (albeit 50/50 at best) that he could make the 53.
If Tony Romo, all five starting Offensive Lineman, and the top three backs (McFadden, Elliot, Morris) are all healthy going into week 1 the likelihood of an explosive running game is not
only likely – it’s the most realistic of all scenarios. The 2014 season showed that the Cowboys not only want to run the ball, they want to dominate with the run during every possible game situation. In a perfect scenario Elliot, McFadden, and Morris would combine for over 2,200 yards of rushing during 2016 – which is possible considering the year DeMarco Murray had in 2014 (392 Carries, 1845 Yards, 13 TDs).
In 2014 it was DeMarco or bust; which led to Murray slowing down during the home stretch in December. The 2016 season could see a fresh stable of backs lead the Cowboys running game into the playoffs. Yet, there’s plenty of reason to believe that the workload will not solely lie on the back of Ezekiel Elliot.