Dallas Cowboys Draft: Phillip Lindsay is Lance Dunbar 2.0

BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 07: Phillip Lindsay
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 07: Phillip Lindsay /

Since Lance Dunbar exited in 2016, the Dallas Cowboys have felt a void at specialty back. Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay is an ideal fit for the role.

The positive mention of Lance Dunbar‘s name is sure to draw crooked stares from Dallas Cowboys fans. He’s definitely another case of unrealized potential.

Before naysayers get out the pitchforks, remember the frustration with Dunbar stemmed from being injury prone and not with performance.

The Cowboys held onto Dunbar for five seasons for a reason. When healthy he created exploitable receiving mismatches out of the backfield.

The 2015 season was a perfect example of his niche when used properly. Dunbar only lasted three games, though he totaled 21 catches for 215 yards.

The change of pace back averaged 7 catches for 72 yards per game. With continued health over the full season, he was on pace to break 1,000 yards receiving.

Even with Ezekiel Elliott in charge, the Cowboys realize the high value of a specialty back and kick returner in the mold of Dunbar. Phillip Lindsay is an even better fit.


The similarities between Colorado’s Phillips Lindsay (5’8, 190) and Dunbar (5’8, 191) are staggering. Below is their college production over the final two seasons.


  • DUNBAR: 543 carries, 2,668 yards, 4.9 ypc, 23 TD’s
  • LINDSAY: 545 carries, 2,726 yards, 5.0 ypc, 30 TD’s


  • DUNBAR: 57 receptions, 682 yards, 12.0 ypr, 5 TD’s
  • LINDSAY: 76 receptions, 750 yards, 9.9 ypr, 2 TD’s


  • DUNBAR: 600 touches, 3,350 yards, 28 TD’s
  • LINDSAY: 621 touches, 3,476 yards, 32 TD’s


  • DUNBAR: 10 returns, 118 yards, 11.8 ypr
  • LINDSAY: 45 returns, 1,077 yards, 23.9 ypr


While both players are clones in size, Lindsay has more muscle strength in his stature. It shows up in his aggressive style of play.

Dunbar relied on being elusive with a shifty quickness. Lindsay does the same, though he also adds an aggressive power element.

The best NFL comparison is a slightly smaller Steve Smith. Lindsay plays with the same sudden, violent explosion as the former Panther and All-Pro receiver.

As the video shows, his burst, balance, and low center of gravity is impressive. Toss in the fact teammates say he’s tough as nails and loves competition.

This aggression shows in his willingness to block in pass protection. Despite size limitations, Lindsay effectively attacks rushers to shield his quarterback.

He also drew rave reviews for his performance at the Shrine Game. Lindsay led all rushers with 12 carries for 51 yards and was noted as the fastest player on the field.


Smaller running backs rarely fetch early draft consideration. Being limited to third downs, special teams, and/or specialty packages makes them added luxuries.

This bodes well for the Cowboys as Lindsay will last into the later rounds. It’s very doubtful he’ll be drafted before the 5th round and likely even later.

Next: Cowboys 2018 Post-Combine 7 Round Mock Draft 2.0

Dallas has two selections in both the 5th and 6th rounds. Using a late pick on a talented specialty back and instant contributor like Lindsay would provide solid value.

Not only would he create mismatches in third down packages, but he’d also put a jolt in the kickoff return game from day one.