Flush with veteran talent at the running back position, could a good training camp from Dallas Cowboys rookie Jahad Thomas unseat a veteran?
Last year the Dallas Cowboys drafted Darius Jackson (Eastern Michigan) in the 6th round. The team tried to protect the promising young asset by placing him on the game day 53-man roster, although he remained inactive. Jackson was ultimately waived on December 13th to make room for Darren McFadden’s return from injury.
The Cleveland Browns promptly claimed Jackson off waivers the next day. Fan confusion; How could the Cowboys pass on keeping young talent over old?
This year, Dallas again has a chance to add a young running back in Jahad Thomas (Temple). The undrafted rookie free agent offers similar skill and versatility as Jackson and bonus…he’s excited to play special teams. This is a dimension that neither current back-ups McFadden nor Alfred Morris offer.
Thomas was far more productive in college than Jackson, having put up 3,597 all-purpose yards in three years. Comparatively, Jackson gained 1,971 total yards in four years, albeit on far fewer touches. But production and availability is the name of the game, and Thomas has the superior resume’.
I make this comparison only to move the conversation towards what the Cowboys may wish to carry into the season. In a recent article by David Helman from the Cowboys official site, executive vice president Stephen Jones stated:
"“I will say this: at some point you’d love for your third back, in a perfect world, to be a contributor on special teams.”"
This is in perfect harmony with Jahad Thomas’ quote from the same article:
"“We haven’t really got into too much special teams practice yet, but I’m going to try to be on every special team there is.”"
The writing’s on the wall for aging Cowboy veterans.
McFadden is a undoubtedly a dynamic back when healthy. And in my opinion, Morris is an underestimated workhorse of a back. While both have the talent to start for an NFL team, the truth is that the emergence of starter Ezekiel Elliott renders one of them expendable.
Unpopular opinion time; if one must go, I’d like to see the Cowboys keep Morris over McFadden. It’s a matter of consistency.
But I’d more than happy to see a rookie beat out one of these veterans for a spot, either way. With the push to continue the search for young talent in Dallas, can Jahad Thomas be the rookie that sends a veteran packing?