Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray would be the breakout star of the NFL this year if a knee injury hadn’t robbed him of three games in the middle of the season. Instead, the sprained MCL only helped confirm the “injury-prone” label that has been attached to Murray ever since leaving Oklahoma three years ago. Despite the missed time, a new metric stat proves that Murray is actually the league’s best rusher, even though his regular statistics say otherwise.
Even with the injury, Murray is having a great year in 2013. With two games to go in the regular season, Murray has racked up 977 rushing yards, 45 receptions and eight touchdowns. All of those numbers are a career high. And Murray currently sits in tenth place for total rushing yards in the NFL. But it’s another number that Cowboys fans will find even more interesting: 30.25
That’s Murray’s Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) rating this season. And it’s tops in the NFL according to numberfire.com.
“Running back DeMarco Murray is having an incredibly underrated season, and not just from a raw statistics standpoint. His 5.5 yards per carry average and 8 touchdowns in 12 games is nice, but his Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) total – a metric that looks at how many points a player is adding to his team’s output – is best in the league among all running backs. His 30.25 total (rushing totals are lower due to passing being more efficient) is over seven points higher than the second-place LeSean McCoy, and of all running backs since 2000, Murray’s total is close to being a top-20 one.”
Murray is finishing his season strong as evidenced by the incredible day he had running the ball on Sunday. Despite the heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers, DeMarco finished the game recording 134 rushing yards on 18 carries (7.4 yards per carry) and a score. He also had four catches for 19 yards. But Murray was sparsely used in the second half of that game, leading to the epic defeat. Maybe knowing they have the best running back in the league in their backfield will convince Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and their coaching staff to use him a little more. Especially when their sitting on the lead.