So this is my first fanpost so bare with me! But a topic that has been on my mind lately has been the competition at running back going into this year's training camp.
As of now, there are 5 running backs on the Cowboys 90 man roster: Demarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, and Kendial Lawrence. Demarco Murray is the clear feature back, with the ability to be an extremely productive running back in this league as long as he is healthy and stays on the field. Despite the fact that Joseph Randle hasn't participated in OTAs, many have him penciled in as the backup to Murray. I look forward to seeing what he can do when he hits the field during Training Camp.
Behind these two is where it gets interesting. A lot of the projected 53 man rosters have both Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner making the the roster with Kendial Lawrence on the practice squad. I am in completely agreement with this, however, what happens when if you need to go heavier on another position in the roster. If the Cowboys had to keep either Lance Dunbar or Phillip Tanner and cut the other, my vote goes to Lance Dunbar.
First off, his style of play is different from both Demarco Murray and Joseph Randle in a good way. He is a true change-of-pace back. Lance Dunbar has the ability to hit that extra gear. He is great in space. While his stat line last year isn't exactly amazing, he put up pretty good numbers for being the number 3 running back, with 21 rushes, for 75 yards which equated to 3.6 yards per carry. His yards per carry tied with Felix Jones for 2nd, though Felix had more carries. In addition to his rushing, Dunbar caught the ball decent enough. He was also a decent kick returner (though this can be improved, hopefully with the new ST coach).
What inspired this post was a few comments from articles posted on BTB, that Kendial Lawrence will beat out Dunbar, or that Tanner is the better of the two.
The latest reports from OTAs are that Lance Dunbar is only getting better. If he can improve upon his play last year, he can be a great asset to have. I can see him in a Darren Sproles type of role for our Cowboys next season. With his ability to play special teams as the primary kick returner, be that change-of-pace back that can spell Murray or Randle, as well as a true third-down-back who can catch the ball out of the backfield, Dunbar is a great back to have on the Cowboys roster.
Hopefully he can have several long kick returns, a few long runs with sweeps and counters, catch the ball and gain 15 yards after the catch, and get a couple of touchdowns. Maybe it's just the kool-aid talking, but Dunbar was one of my favorite Cowboys to watch last year. And with all the attention on all of the other offensive weapons in the Cowboys arsenal, hopefully Dunbar can make his mark.