Cowboys should wait a year to draft a running back

Oct 24, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) before a game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) before a game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Dallas Cowboys can hold off a year before drafting a running back, then they could find one in a supremely talented incoming class of rookie runners.

There has been a lot of talk about the Dallas Cowboys using a draft pick to select a running back high in the upcoming NFL Draft. And that move certainly makes sense.

Last year, the Cowboys struggled with a three-headed running-back-by-committee model that blew up in their collective faces. The trio of Joseph Randle, Christine Michael and Darren McFadden proved to be grossly ineffective. Even behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

Luckily for the Cowboys, McFadden emerged above both Randle and Michael, who were off the team by mid-November. Run DMC started 10 games for the Cowboys last year on his way to a 1,000+ rushing yard season for only the second time in his eight-year career. But McFadden’s age (28) and his extensive injury history precludes the Cowboys from trusting him as their sole workhorse in the backfield. Hence, many believe Dallas will find a player to partner with the veteran in April’s draft.

But I’d like to make the case that the Cowboys should wait another year before spending a high draft pick on a running back. Instead, sign a inexpensive but still effective veteran running back in free agency to a short term, incentive based contract. Someone like Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, or LeGarrette Blount. Basically, they would be buying a cheap bridge player to get them through the season and into next year’s draft.

Why? Because the 2017 NFL draft class of incoming running backs is currently looking like the stuff of legend. Players like LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Georgia’s Nick Chubb are all expected to be first round picks next year. And that fact is certainly not lost on those who cover the Cowboys and the draft for a living.

"“Man, I wonder if you could just survive at running back this year, cause next year…Holy Cow! The running back class that’s coming,” said 105.3 The Fan NFL Draft expert Jeff Cavanaugh during an appearance on the Cowboys Draft Show on the team’s official site Saturday. “There are two or three [Ezekiel Elliotts] coming.”"

When asked if the Cowboys would have to be terrible next season to select high enough to draft one of those talented backs, Cavanaugh responded:

"“Nah. The running backs…one of them will make it. We’ll be good.”"

And Cavanaugh is certainly right. There are four or five more running back not listed above who could easily be second round selections in 2017. That’s how stocked that class looks to be!

But the crown jewel of them all is Fournette, who is currently projected to be a top ten pick. It’s unlikely the Cowboys will be picking high enough in the draft to snag him.

Obviously, the Cowboys could draft a running back this year and still find gold next year. But why not wait? If you really want a player like Fournette, you could always trade up for him.

If Dallas is forward thinking enough, they could always trade away their first round selection this year, in order to get more picks and a hopefully, a high, first round selection in next year’s draft. A trade is likely the only why the Cowboys would be able to draft a player like Fournette. But that’s still more than a year away and a lot of things can happen between now or then.

The point is, the Cowboys should have to foresight to band aid their running back issues for another year. Because…Holy cow!

Next: Combine Results - Dallas Cowboys Running Back Prospects

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