It was a shock to many fans when the Dallas Cowboys used a third round pick on former Oklahoma Sooner running back DeMarco Murray in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Cowboys are already loaded at the position with Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice, however, Dallas saw something in Murray that made them decide to pull the trigger early.
With the now crowded backfield, it is obvious that one of the four players will not be on the roster at the start of next season — whenever that may be. All signs point to the odd man out being Marion Barber, but that has been the popular thought for some time.
The next question you have to ask is, “how big of a role with Murray have in the offense?” Since the team took him in the third round, they need to hope he can contribute immediately.
Murray has the big play ability out of the backfield and can also improve the special teams unit, but does head coach Jason Garrett have a bigger role in mind for the former Sooner? Jacques-Jean Taylor of the Dallas Morning News seems to think so.
Taylor believes that DeMarco Murray could end up starting right away in Dallas.
“DeMarco Murray will challenge Felix Jones for the starting running back position, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t expect to win the job. Jones has been a disappointment, and the Cowboys have provided a catalyst for him to play his best football,” wrote Taylor.
The unfortunate part about Murray challenging for a starting job right away is that it would once again push Tashard Choice down the depth chart. Choice has shown — when given the chance — that he is more than capable of being an every down back for the team. He just has found himself on a roster stacked with talent at his position. Choice is also hurting himself by not being a willing contributor on special teams.
While Choice finds himself buried on the depth chart again, Murray will not suffer the same fate. As a rookie, he is going to come out guns blazing and try to make an immediate impact with his team. Afterall, Murray will be playing with a chip on his shoulder because he was expecting to go in round two.
As for the crowded backfield, Murray just wants to learn.
“I definitely want to learn from those guys [Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice]. They’ve been in the league for a while. I want to pick their brains and see what it takes to make it at the next level. Once I get the opportunity to play, we’ll see what happens. They are three great running backs. I plan to learn from them the first year or so.”