With free agency winding down, the NFL Draft has taken center stage. The Dallas Cowboys have positioned themselves to take the best player available early, but Will McClay and company will earn their money by potential gems they find beyond the first two rounds of the showcase.
The Cowboys could justify drafting a running back early if Texas’ Bijan Robinson or Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs falls to them in the first two rounds.
However, it’s possible Robinson is taken before pick No. 26 overall. Recent mock drafts have Dallas trading up to take the former Longhorn, who’s considered the best running back prospect of the last decade, but this front office historically has preferred to let the draft board fall to them.
That could be a problem with Gibbs, too. Some mocks have Gibbs going as high as the first round. In most scenarios, though, the Crimson Tide product is gone long before the Cowboys pick at No. 58 overall in Round 2.
That’s just fine, though, as there are ample talented running backs Dallas could take in the third round and beyond. Everyone’s rankings are different, but Tulane’s Tyjae Spears is viewed as a potential home run on Day 2.
It seems the Cowboys are crushing hard on Spears, as they hosted the player for a private workout. The workout will be led by offensive assistant and analytics wiz Ryan Feder, who’s now in charge of game management.
Cowboys set private workout with Tulane RB Tyjae Spears
Spears was a late bloomer in college, as he logged 21 carries for 192 yards in a crowded Tulane backfield over four games in 2019. He entered 2020 as the starter but suffered an ACL tear that ended his season after three games.
From that point, Spears’ career and stock took off. In 2021, Spears compiled 863 rushing yards and nine TDs on nearly 7.0 yards per attempt.
Spears cemented himself as one of the nation’s top backs as a senior. He finished fifth in the country with 1,581 rushing yards and second with 19 rushing touchdowns before earning AAC Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The Louisiana native makes devastating cuts at the second level and runs with exceptional bend and change of direction that’s complemented by elite vision. He showcased all of these traits on this highlight-reel run.
Nothing to see here, folks. Just Spears identifying a defender mid-jump and executing a ridiculous leg shake upon planting to complete the house call.
Like any non-Bijan back, Spears isn’t a perfect prospect.
The Cowboys will need to perform extensive testing on his surgically-repaired knee, though it’s encouraging he’s three years removed from the injury and seemingly hasn’t lost a shred of athleticism from the operation.
Further, Spears’ pass-catching needs refinement and he lacks the requisite running power to be a three-down back in the NFL.
All that said, Spears would be a tremendous complementary back to Tony Pollard. He’s definitely someone to watch during the pre-draft process because the Cowboys clearly like what he brings to the table.