The Landry Hat explains why drafting a running back is a bad idea for the Dallas Cowboys.
Moranor says that Dallas has its eye on either Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott and Alabama’s Derrick Henry (the 2015 Heisman Trophy Winner) if either is available in the early part of the second round of the NFL draft. However, it is possible that both backs will be taken before Dallas makes its second pick, No. 36 in the draft.
This is a situation where Dallas and owner/general manager Jerry Jones must be careful. The Cowboys simply can’t draft a running back because there is a perceived need for a backup on the roster. Likewise, it would be idiotic to try to trade back into the first round for one of the top two runners in the draft.
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Second round draft choices are supposed to be immediate starters on a team and though it could be argued that a backup runner would be like a second starter, keep in mind that the Cowboys want to resign backup running back Lance Dunbar who missed most of 2015 with a knee injury.
So if the plan is to divide the workload between three backs, McFadden, Dunbar and another player it would not be prudent to spend the 36th pick in the draft on a player that might touch the ball fewer than 10 times per game.
Rather, Dallas should consider finding a running back in free agency. There will be numerous quality backs on the market this offseason including the New York Jets’ Chris Ivory, the Miami Dolphins’ Lamar Miller, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Doug Martin or the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch.
As the NFL has devalued the position of running back, teams can now find great bargains at running back. All of the veteran backs mentioned above are going to be available mainly for salary cap reasons.
For instance, last season Dallas was able to sign McFadden for two years and less than $6 million. Meanwhile, it let 2014 starter DeMarco Murray got to Philadelphia for 5 years and $45 million. Ultimately, Dallas got the last laugh in this exchange as McFadden outrushed Murray by 387 yards but made $43 million less.
The Cowboys are of the mindset that they are a contender if quarterback Tony Romo remains healthy. That means that the team must put players on the roster ready to be instant contributors.
If Dallas drafts a quarterback at pick No. 4, then pick No. 36 must go to a player that will be ready to help Dallas in a much more significant way than a backup running back. Sure, it would be nice to land Elliott or Henry but by the time those players are in their prime Dallas may no longer be legitimate contenders and may be breaking in a new quarterback.
There are too many needs on the Cowboys’ roster such as another wide receiver, a corner back or two, defensive line help, and linebacker reinforcements for the Cowboys to be drafting for the future. If the Dallas Cowboys truly consider 2016 an opportunity to contend for a title (and Jerry Jones has made it abundantly clear that he feels that way) then the second round pick can be used in a way that helps Dallas more significantly then a running back to be part of a committee.
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