4 running backs Cowboys must target on Day 2 of NFL draft

Kansas State v Texas
Kansas State v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Despite an anxious build-up, the Dallas Cowboys crushed night one of the 2024 NFL Draft. Even though they had draft crush Graham Barton available at pick No. 24, they wisely moved back in a trade with the Lions and still got their left tackle of the future in Oklahoma product Tyler Guyton with the 29th pick all the while picking up the No. 73 overall pick in the third round.

That's exactly how it's done. Time will tell if passing on Barton for Guyton was the right decision, but getting an extra day two pick makes everything palatable. Getting three swings on day two is massive given the Cowboys don't have a fourth-round pick and still have multiple roster holes to fill.

Speaking of which, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Dallas will draft a running back on day two. Luckily for them, not a single RB went in round one and if the latest mock drafts are any indication, they could have their pick of the entire class with their second-round selection.

Whether the Cowboys address the position in round two or three, here are four standouts they absolutely must target.

4. Jaylen Wright, Tennessee

Wright is definitely a raw prospect. His vision needs some work but that will improve with more carries, as he only rushed 368 times at Tennessee. Over his final two seasons, Wright ranked in the 91st percentile in yards after contact per attempt and the 89th percentile in missed tackles forced per carry, per PFF. He also has NFL-ready pass-protection ability and home run speed, as evidenced by his blistering 4.38 40-yard dash. The former Volunteer will be a three-down starter as a pro.

3. Marshawn Lloyd, USC

Some team is going to get a stud in Lloyd. In his final year at USC he rushed for 816 yards and nine touchdowns on a whopping 7.1 yards per carry. He forced 47 missed tackles and had 457 yards after contact. Lloyd has to work on cutting outside less but his explosion elusiveness, ability to make defenders miss in space and hold his own in pass pro make him a future starter in the NFL with the upside to make a high impact as a rookie.

2. Trey Benson, Florida State

Want to know one thing about Benson? His 0.40 missed tackles forced per attempt is the second-highest in PFF college history only to former Texas superstar Bijan Robinson. Perhaps the most impressive part of Benson's game is that he can convert speed to power in a flash to churn out extra yards. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine and should hear his name called at some point in round two.

1. Jonathon Brooks, Texas

Brooks had to take the top spot, right? The Cowboys haven't concealed their interest in Brooks, whom insider Jane Slater named a target for their first-round pick after a potential trade-back. Even with the ACL injury, Brooks should be the first RB off the board. He has everything you could want in a three-down back: vision, contact balance, footwork, change of direction, wiggle and soft hands. Look for Dallas to be aggressive in trying to draft Brooks on Friday night.

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