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If DeMarco Murray Moves On, Should Dallas Cowboys Go Running Back Early in 2015 NFL Draft?

DeMarco Murray could be on his way out of Dallas. If that is the case, should the Cowboys use one of their first two picks on a running back?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While I won't say that the 2015 NFL Draft running back class is overly "deep", I will say that there are some very intriguing prospects out there. The reason why this is even coming up at all is due to the fact that DeMarco Murray could have played his final down as a Dallas Cowboy. That's obviously not a done deal yet, and there's a chance that Jerry Jones could pull some magic and get him back, but in reality, it may not make sense to pay too much for him when the team needs help on defense, and also needs to make sure that they re-sign players like Dez Bryant.

So when you look at running backs entering the upcoming draft, could the Cowboys potentially spend one of their first two picks on a running back? It's definitely possible.

While the argument that's being thrown around is that Joseph Randle can be the go-to man in the Cowboys' running game, I'm not completely sold on it yet. I have no question in my mind that Randle is a talented running back, as he averaged an impressive 6.7 YPC in 2014, and I do believe that he has a bright future, I'm simply not sure that he could handle a workload anywhere near what Murray did. They may not ask him to handle that much (and they'd be crazy if they did), but will the Cowboys feel confident enough having Lance Dunbar as his backup, and possibly Ryan Williams somewhere in the rotation?

It's all speculation currently, but what I do know is that the Cowboys could get a very talented young running back in the upcoming draft. Let's have a bit of fun and check out a few running backs who the team could target in either the first or second rounds, and give a likelihood rating for each on a scale of 1-10.

*As we get into this, let me clarify that I believe this team should likely go defense with this pick, but anything can happen.

Possible First-Round Running Backs

Todd Gurley- Georgia Bulldogs

Could Gurley fall to 27? When hearing what's being said about him, it seems unlikely. has Gurley ranked as their top overall RB, and for good reason. As for his potential landing spot?

Sources tell that they don't see Gurley falling past the middle of the first round. They say he's too talented to fall any further. Gurley averaged 7.4 yards in 2014 for 911 yards with nine touchdowns. He also made 12 receptions for 57 yards. Gurley was utterly dominant and demonstrated a great combination of speed and power.

So, let's call the likelihood of Gurley landing in Dallas what it is, pretty unlikely. With that said, if he was to fall to No. 27 by any chance, I don't think we'd see any type of Johnny Manziel situation where they let him pass, as I think Dallas would jump all over the chance to bring in Gurley.

Likelihood: 2.5 out of 10

Melvin Gordon- Wisconsin Badgers

If there's a running back who the Cowboys may have an outside shot at in the first round, it could be Gordon. This is the man who broke the NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards, a record which was shockingly broken again just a week later. He broke that record in just three quarters of play, leaving us all wondering if this could have been an unbreakable record had he played all four quarters. The reason why I believe that Gordon could end up as a true possibility for Dallas is largely due to the fact that we've seen a decline in early draft picks being used on running backs. With how backs have slid in previous drafts, don't count out the chances of Gordon to Dallas.

Likelihood: 4 out of 10

Potential Second-Round Running Backs

Duke Johnson- Miami Hurricanes

Let me kick off the "Duke Johnson argument" by saying that I have serious concerns about whether or not Johnson will end up being an every-down back in the NFL. If he doesn't seem to be an every-down back, then there's simply no reason for the Cowboys to use a pick on him. Let's also add in the fact that I believe a team will fall in love with the former Hurricane, and that he'll end up getting drafted in the late-first or early-second. I'd love to see what Johnson's capable of at the next level, but it's a bit risky. Don't get your hopes up Cowboy fans.

Likelihood: 1.5 out of 10

Tevin Coleman- Indiana Hoosiers

Coleman, to me, is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. He averaged 7.5 YPC while rushing for 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns. I think the fact that he's coming from Indiana leaves many curious about what he'll be able to do at the next level, since the Hoosiers aren't known as a "football school." Out of everyone we've seen on this list, I think that he could end up being the one who slides and is available in the second round for the Cowboys. Coleman has massive upside, and during his sophomore year he was nearly as good as last season in terms of YPC, averaging 7.3. This guy could end up being a steal for someone in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Likelihood: 4.5 out of 10

Second-Round Or Later Running Back Options

These are players who could find themselves ending up as second-round picks, but could also end up as third or fourth rounders potentially. With that said, each of them may end up being intriguing options for the Cowboys in the upcoming draft.

Ameer Abdullah- Nebraska Cornhuskers

Abdullah is an interesting prospect. While he's just 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, he's almost exactly the same as Johnson, which means that he may not be a fit in Dallas. What makes Abdullah different is that he plays with a type of power and durability that we haven't seen from many of the other prospects. He does a little bit of everything, and I actually believe that he could turn into an every-down back in the NFL. I won't lock him in as a great pick for the Cowboys, but the likelihood is higher than that of Johnson's.

Likelihood: 3 out of 10

T.J. Yeldon- Alabama Crimson Tide

Yeldon has shown flashes throughout his college career, but as WalterFootball points out, he has many question marks entering the draft:

Yeldon had ball-security issues in 2013, and while he was better as a junior, those haven't gone away completelYy. eldon is a smooth runner who has quickness, balance, cutting ability and vision.

Physically, Yeldon hasn't been as impressive as teammate Derrick Henry, but both were reliable backs for Alabama. He runs a little upright, as a result of his height, and needs to improve his ball security. He can improve on those issues at the next level.

Even if does fall to the Cowboys, I'm not sold on Jerry drafting him. He is 6-foot-2 and weighs 221, so he could be a guy with the potential to be a lead back in the NFL at some point though. In all honesty, I view Yeldon as a third-round guy, and I think when all is said and done, he'll end up going at some point in the third. Could it be to Dallas? It's possible, but around the same likelihood as the man above.

Likelihood: 3 out of 10

Jay Ajayi- Boise State Broncos

I have to say that while Ajayi is probably going to be a third-round pick, he's going to be a complete steal. This guy can do a little bit of everything. He's big, but he also has great speed. Not only is he a great runner, as he rushed for 25 touchdowns with 1,689 yards in 2014, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield, pulling in 45 catches for 536 yards and four touchdowns as well. I love his game, and could see him being a great fit for the Cowboys, especially if they could get him late in the second (if his stock rises a bit), or if he falls to them in the third.

The stars may not align for Ajayi and the Cowboys, but if the front office decided they wanted a running back late in round two, there's a chance that they could trade out of the second and into the beginning of the third to grab him. He's a guy who I'll have my eye on with the hopes that he ends up landing in Dallas.

Likelihood: 5 out of 10

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