Dallas Cowboys Best Running Back Draft Choice: Tevin Coleman


Of all the running back prospects in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft, there’s one that stands out as the best choice for the Dallas Cowboys: Tevin Coleman of University of Indiana.

Yes, there’s other good runners that might be available. According to many draft pundits, Coleman may only rank as the third, fourth or even fifth best running back in this draft class.

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While it’s tough to argue that Todd Gurley of University of Georgia and even Melvin Gordon of University of Wisconsin might rank ahead of Coleman, I don’t think this is necessarily the case for the Cowboys.

For starters, Hurley and Gordon aren’t likely to be available when Dallas goes on the clock with the 27th pick in the first round. Since, at least in my opinion, Coleman has better upside for ’15 than anyone not named Melvin,I believe  the former Hoosiers star is the best fit for the Cowboys.

Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News offered a nice profile of Coleman earlier this week.

"“Coleman and (Darren) McFadden share many of the same traits. He’s a one-cut runner. He’s physical and explosive. And he’ll fight for extra yardage. If this description sounds familiar, it should. It also applies to Murray, the NFL’s reigning rushing champion, whom Coleman emulates and could ultimately succeed. ‘That’s kind of my style of back — DeMarco Murray or Darren McFadden,’ Coleman said at the scouting combine. ‘They are great backs; I look up to them. That’s kind of how I run’.”"

Aside from the fact that Coleman looks up to current and former Cowboys running backs Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray, Coleman has the ability to write his own story with America’s Team.

There were just two running backs in college football that eclipsed the 2,000 yard rushing mark in 2014. Gordon was one, but Coleman was the other.

Coleman played on a team that opposing defenses really only had to worry about him, from an offensive standpoint. And he still managed to amass 7.5 yards per carry. It’s true that Gordon had the exact same average, but remember that the former Badger is almost sure to be gone by the end of the first round.

If the Cowboys want a franchise back, they probably need to make that selection in the first round. Some might think that Coleman in the first round is a bit high, but I don’t agree with that line of thinking at all.

This was arguably the second-most productive back in the nation last year and there’s no reason to expect that he’ll still be on the board once Dallas goes on the clock late in the second round. This would mean that 59 other players would be chosen while still leaving Coleman on the board.

And no, I don’t buy into the idea that running backs aren’t valued anymore.

I really like Coleman’s explosion out of the backfield as he’s rarely chased down by opposing defensive backs. This is the main reason I like Coleman over Jay Ajayi of Boise State University, for example. Either of these runners will be available late in the first round, but probably not late in the second.

Coleman has an extra gear that Ajayi doesn’t have and he weighs a good bit less. I think Ajayi can be a good runner in the NFL for a few years. But probably not much longer than that. The former Broncos star isn’t going to have the elusiveness that Coleman has and this could mean more of a Marion Barber kind of career for Ajayi.

In other words, while the fire’s burning it’ll be really hot. But then it’s going to burn out suddenly.

Coleman can evade some of that contact and, if healthy, run a little longer in the NFL.

The good news is that there’s as many as four or five candidates in the draft that can replace the departed DeMarco Murray, a running back that I feel benefited more from a borderline great offensive line in Dallas more than anything else.

Replacing Murray’s production from last season might not be simple, but it’s entirely doable.

The key is finding the right back to do it.

Coleman and Gordon look to be the best one-cut runners in the draft. They also bring the most productivity to the table while also bringing the athleticism to possibly play beyond a five-year rookie contract.

Granted, if Gurley somehow falls to the Cowboys, a remote possibility given his knee injury last season, then perhaps there’s a broader discussion to be had. The former Bulldog is a special talent that might bring the kind of face-of-the-franchise element that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings or LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers brought forth.

Or, how about Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys? Good things happen when this franchise places high priority on drafting a star tailback – and remember that offensive line already in place.

The Cowboys need a workhorse runner that can pair with McFadden to push this franchise as close to 2,500 combined rushing yards as possible.

For me, Coleman with the 27th overall pick would make that goal a reality in Dallas this season.

Next: 5 Reasons Not To Draft A First Round Running Back