Cowboys first unofficial depth chart reveals surprise shuffle in RB pecking order

There's a new frontrunner to win the RB2 job behind Tony Pollard.
Jul 29, 2022; Onxard, CA, USA;  Dallas Cowboys running back Rico Dowdle (23) runs the ball for a
Jul 29, 2022; Onxard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Rico Dowdle (23) runs the ball for a / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are gearing up for their first of three preseason games.

These exhibitions will really help the coaching staff settle difficult decisions as it pertains to the 53-man roster, but training camp arguably offers a better platform for players to ascend up the depth chart or prove they belong on the team.

The battle for the starting tight end job has disappointed thanks to Luke Schoonmaker missing the first two weeks of camp with a foot injury. Thankfully, other position battles have lived up to the hype, like the fight for WR4 and the backup running back role behind Tony Pollard.

With preseason on the horizon, the Cowboys released their first unofficial depth chart since camp began. We normally wouldn't reach too much into the initial reveal, but this one shed a surprising light on the team's RB pecking order.

Rico Dowdle -- not Malik Davis -- is listed as RB2 behind Pollard.

Cowboys RB Rico Dowdle the favorite to be Tony Pollard's backup

This is a great day for Dowdle truthers, but he hasn't quite crossed the finish line. Still, though, it wasn't long ago that Davis was considered the overwhelming favorite to win the backup job and whatever gap there was separating Dowdle and Davis has been closed.

Pollard was a limited participant at OTAs and minicamp as he put the finishing touches on his recovery from offseason ankle surgery.

That opened the door for Davis to get most of the reps with the first-team offense, and while he impressed -- and has continued to impress in Oxnard -- it seems as though Dowdle has a leg up on the second-year pro.

That can be attributed to a number of things. Maybe Dowdle's physicality as a 6-foot, 215-pound back has stood out. The Cowboys are leaning more on their RBs in pass protection relative to years past, and Dowdle's size advantage over Davis allows him to fend off bigger bodies.

And it goes without saying that a smash-mouth RB profiles as a better complement to Pollard than Davis' one-cut rushing style.

Or maybe, Dowdle is just the better back overall. A large wave of Cowboys reporters and talking heads have stuck by Dowdle through his injury troubles. Remember, it was Dowdle who had a stranglehold on the RB3 role last year behind Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott before he suffered an ankle injury that landed him on IR.

As long as Dowdle remains upright, there's seemingly nothing standing in his way from fending off Davis for the RB2 job.

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