After the Dallas Cowboys drafted Bruce Carter in the second round, the fan base was not ready for the controversy that took place in the third round. When the Cowboys selected Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray with the 71st pick, many fans were not pleased. If you read any the comments section at that time, you would be blown away by the display of negativity towards the selection.
I thought we just landed one of the steals of the draft, getting a record-setting running back that late into the NFL Draft is a real bargain. Perhaps the fans negative views were due to the fact that he was, well, a running back. Many felt that the Cowboys front office made the wrong decision because they could have selected an offensive guard, or a player on defense.
When you actually sit down and think about the pick, it made sense. Felix Jones has serious durability and injury concerns. He has yet to make it through an entire season healthy. The Cowboys had just parted ways with Marion Barber that offseason, and they definitely needed to add another running back to the roster. The only running back behind Jones was Tashard Choice, the people's champ, who many fans had a lot of support for.
There were also concerns about the type of running back they drafted. The common theory leading into the draft was that the Cowboys would look to add more of a power running back. Many viewed Murray as a finesse runner that lacked physicality. One knock on his scouting report coming out of Oklahoma were the injuries he suffered there. He suffered a turf toe injury, dislocated right knee cap, a partially ruptured hamstring and a sprained left ankle. His senior season was the only one in which he did not miss a game during his college career.
Murray was one of the most prolific running backs in Oklahoma history. By the time he left Oklahoma, the communications major achieved great success. His list of college achievements are very impressive.
|DeMarco Murray's Oklahoma Achievements|
|All-time leader in all purpose yardage 6,626|
|All-time leader in touchdowns 64|
|All-time leader in points 384|
|All-time leading running back in receiving yards 1,572|
|#2 all-time leader in running back receptions 155|
|#6 all-time leader in rushing yards 3,592|
|13 career 100-yard rushing games|
|18 career multiple touchdown games|
|Two-time All-Big 12 fist team|
|Two-time Academic All-Big 12 second team|
|ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American|
|Rivals Freshman All-American|
When he entered the combine in 2011, he didn't really have too much to prove. NFL teams understood the type of athlete he was. His performance was still one of the best by any running back at last years combine.
|DeMarco Murray's 2011 Combine Results|
|4.41 40 yard dash|
|21 225 pound bench reps|
|34 1/2 inch vertical jump|
|10'10" broad jump|
|4.18 20 yard shuttle|
|7.28 3 cone drill|
During the months after the draft and the pre-season, I hyped up DeMarco Murray on BTB. He was just so electrifying in college that I believed there was no way this superstar in the making would fail in the NFL. The Cowboys were put in a difficult position from the start of training camp last summer. Murray ended up missing some time with a nagging hamstring injury, and the doubters who already questioned his durability began to air their concerns. Felix Jones looked amazing during the pre-season, and many felt that he was going to be the running back who broke out in 2011.
Murray made the most of his opportunities when Jones suffered a high ankle sprain against the Patriots. He was one of the hottest names in football during his seven-game stretch. Tony Romo and the offense benefited from the superior play at running back. The DeMarco Murray show came to a streaking halt in one of the biggest games of the year. During the first quarter of the week 14 Giants game, he suffered a fractured right ankle and a high ankle sprain. Every Cowboys fan watching that game went silent when he was laying on the turf in pain. The injury ended his record-breaking rookie season prematurely. When he went down, the Cowboys offense was just never the same.
"It's coming along well," Murray told NFL Radio on Sirius/XM. "I just started running last week and we have a great rehabilitation staff at the Cowboys facility, so I'm doing good."
Jason Garrett spoke highly about him and his rehab recently.
"He's getting there. He is getting there," Garrett said. "At every turn, the rehab has gone well for him, all positive marks. And really it's a tribute to our training staff but also to his approach. He's a guy who has been there every day doing what he's supposed to do and his body is responding well."
We should still temper our expectations on him because we have seen flashes of greatness before at running back. Julius Jones was the player Bill Parcells selected over current Rams running back Steven Jackson. At first it looked like a great decision made by Parcells. Jones ran for 819 yards in eight games, and added 7 touchdowns. Many Cowboys analysts, writers and fans thought that he was going to be the next superstar running back for Dallas. It just never panned out that way, so that is the cautionary tale of believing in Murray too much.
DeMarco Murray's Skill Set
- Excellent vision
- Combination of size, strength, and speed
- Top notch burst and acceleration
- Runs with a purpose and strongly finishes plays off
- Dangerous receiving threat
- Good pass protector
- Holds onto the football
This is the complete package at running back. He is loaded with talent and his skill set is just so well rounded that it's hard not to believe in him. He possesses everything a good running back needs to have in order to succeed in the NFL. Head coach Jason Garrett drafted him due to his high character.
If the guard and center position can be upgraded in the offseason, Murray could benefit from that. He still put in a fantastic rookie season with the team having holes there. Continuing to upgrade the offensive line will improve the run game even more. He has the talent to make a lot of plays on his own, but with some help he could really take it to the next level.
The Cowboys offense is loaded with firepower all over the field. Finally having a reliable running game will open up the passing game for Tony Romo and company. I know that I am excited about the possibilities of this offense next season. DeMarco Murray had a fantastic rookie campaign, and hopefully he builds on the success he had last season and takes it to the next level. The Cowboys may have found the next superstar at running back.