Dallas Cowboys More Confident In Current Backfield Than Fans Are


Judging by the clamor for a big name running back in social media, the Dallas Cowboys draft was a disappointment to a lot of their fans. The Cowboys chose to stick to their plan and concentrate on improving their defense.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proclaimed in the pre-draft press conference that the Cowboys were confident in their current stable of running backs.

The eye rolls after that comment could have tilted the earth off it’s axis. Here goes Jerry laying down the smoke screen for a big move up in the first round to grab Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon. Both backs considered generational talents almost unanimously by all analysts and draft experts.

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It turns out Jones was being honest. According to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett‘s interview Saturday afternoon, the team had a couple of backs on their board that could have been early round picks but once those players were gone, they were not going to reach for a running back.

You have to admire the discipline, patience and confidence the Cowboys team of coaches, scouts and executives displayed during this draft. They didn’t reach for an edge rusher or a running back. They patiently waited for Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones and Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, when in the past they may have panicked and traded up.

The fans choice was obviously running back Jay Ajayi from Boise State. Ajayi’s talent is unquestioned and he made big plays on national television. The problem with the former Bronco is his knee and the prospect of the next play very possibly being the last play of his career.

The Cowboys obviously felt it wasn’t worth the risk. The degenerative knee issue for Ajayi is similar to what Dallas  guard Ronald Leary deals with. The difference is the risk and strain a bone on bone knee takes playing running back compared to an offensive lineman.

The Cowboys play in 2012 for Leary was very low risk. He was not drafted because of the knee and was signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent. Even now, Leary does not command a big contract because of the knee.

The fans should have faith in the team that they did their homework on Ajayi. It speaks volumes that he lasted so long in the draft, not getting drafted until the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins.

Ajayi was a Dallas Day visitor because he was a local high school player. The Cowboys not only had the medicals from the combine but they had the opportunity to further examine him that day in Dallas.

The Cowboys, under the direction of assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, have proven to be very adept at drafting. They have the most Pro Bowl appearances by their drafted players since 2010.

This front office has earned the benefit of the doubt from the fans. They have developed a front office and coaching cohesiveness and consistency the last five years they desperately needed.

There is no doubt that the current group of running backs won’t strike fear into opposing defenses. Through the free agency period and the draft the Cowboys have shown that they think their star studded offensive line is the key to the running game and not the talent at the running back position.

The 2015 season will be running back by committee for the Cowboys. The dark horse has to be former Arizona Cardinals second round draft choice Ryan Williams. Williams showed flashes of brilliance at Virginia Tech. Injuries have plagued him since his first season at Arizona.

It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys patience with Williams will pay off this next season. The other wild card is running back Joseph Randle. Randle should feel relieved some of the off field spotlight will be taken off him and placed on new defensive end’s Greg Hardy and Gregory.

The glaring observation you can make about this current group of backs is they are small in stature. Running back Darren McFadden is the only back with any real size at 6’1″, 218 pounds.

The other backs are all undersized. That could possibly be the reason the Cowboys didn’t go after Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson.

The running game needs to be the strength again this year for the same important reasons it was last season. We can only wait and see if the Cowboys confidence is justified and the production will be there. Otherwise, many fans will point back at this draft with a big I told you so to the front office.

Next: Dallas Cowboys Draft - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly