Is it possible that running back Rod Smith is overtaking veteran Alfred Morris on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart due to his ability to play special teams?
It was assumed that the top three spots on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart at running back were already locked. Barring injury or a trade, starter Ezekiel Elliott and veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris should top the depth chart going into the regular season.
But now there appears to be another name who could grab one of those top active roster spots. And that’s Rod Smith.
"“The more I study Rod Smith during these practices, the more I get the feeling that the front office and coaching staff is becoming comfortable with him being the third running back on this team,” wrote former scout Bryan Broaddus on DallasCowboys.com. “Smith is young, in great shape and plays on special teams — which is a big deal. He has shown a physical side carrying the ball and a feel for how to create space for such a large man.”"
The 6-foot-3, 235 pound Rod Smith, the older brother of teammate, second-year linebacker Jaylon Smith, joined the Cowboys midseason back in 2015, as Dallas claimed the former Ohio State star off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.
Although the running back/full back has gotten sporadic work on the Cowboys offense the past two seasons, Smith gets the majority of his playing time as a special teamer.
Last season, the 25-year old racked up 94 special teams snaps, as opposed to only four offensive snaps. And it’s his ability as a special teamer that may give him an edge over Morris, who historically hasn’t played special teams.
Smith was a big-time four-star recruit back in high school, ranked as high as the sixth best running back prospect in the country. He elected to go to powerhouse Ohio State in 2010, but his college career was plagued with off-the-field issues. Smith was eventually dismissed from the team during his senior year after a failed drug test and ultimately became an undrafted NFL rookie free agent in 2015.
During his time in Dallas, Rod Smith has made very little noise. But if he is indeed starting to fulfill the potential he flashed with the Buckeyes, it means there is a real competition to watch behind Zeke on the Cowboys depth chart during training camp and through the preseason.