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Dallas Cowboys Offseason 2015: Did The Cowboys Improve? (Running Backs Edition)

Did the Dallas Cowboys improve their talent at running back from 2014 to 2015?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our series on possible improvements the Cowboys have made to their roster, we shift focus to the most talked about position of the offseason; the running backs.

2014: DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams
2015: Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams, Lache Seastrunk

Gone is 2014's Offensive Player of the Year as Murray signed a fat contract with the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles. Murray surpassed Jim Brown's record for consecutive games with 100+ yards rushing and carried the ball 392 times for 1,845 yards. The production will be hard to replace, but the Cowboys are hopeful that a stable of backs will be enough to weather the loss. Let's take a closer look at who is on the roster.

RB 1A: Darren McFadden

The former Razorback star was drafted in 2008 fourth overall by the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately for him, he's never really carved himself out a career. After being a two-time Heisman runner-up, consensus All-American and just about every other award winner; McFadden just hasn't lived up to the billing. He's been oft-injured and has also had to play for a team that's been constantly in transition. Though we certainly have seen bursts and samples of what he's capable of, his full arsenal has yet to be unleashed. Now, McFadden is telling local reporters that he "feels like a rookie again." He's certainly a guy you root for and the front office believes he has plenty in the tank. Even with being in the league since 2008, he has less carries than Murray. McFadden, like anyone, is juts excited to run behind this offensive line that Dallas has put together. Will is be enough to vault him to new heights?

RB 1B: Joseph Randle

This should be Randle's job to lose. He's got the best vision of any back on the roster and that would include the recently departed Murray. Randle has shown his ability to make the flashy, big plays and is known to break one fairly often. Like Murray, Randle is fit for the one-cut style that works well with zone-blocking schemes. However, Randle has never carried it more than 54 times in his young career. If he were to see an expanded role this season, he will have to learn how to get the "dirty" yards as Jason Garrett says. Randle feels like he's up for the task after sitting behind Murray the past two seasons and everyone is aware of his "meat on the bone" comments. Randle also has a history of knucklehead behavior, but now he will need to prove that he's the guy to supplant Murray.

RB2: Lance Dunbar

Every year, we hear that this will be the year that Lance Dunbar proves his roster spot. Apparently, the coaches are actually trying to give him the opportunity to do so. Dunbar, to me, is at best a receiving back with elusiveness to get into open space. Ever since Scott Linehan came in, folks were hoping that Dunbar could be a poor-man's Reggie Bush. I just don't see the same caliber of player. Maybe, the Cowboys will find a successful role for Dunbar this season, but he's a bubble player in my mind.

RB3: Ryan Williams

The dark horse in the race, Williams is also another guy with an extensive injury history. After being the second running back only to Mark Ingram taken in the 2011 NFL Draft, Williams has yet to play in a regular season game since 2012. With that said, his running style has been exciting to watch in the preseason. He's got some wiggle to him and has a knack for trucking defenders. The Cowboys gave him a decent bonus to stay with the Cowboys after some unnamed teams came-a-knocking. Williams has the talent pedigree for the position and can be a good fit in a committee approach. It doesn't define his running style, but Williams does have a bit of a bruiser's mentality. After spending the majority of OTA's and minicamp recovering, Williams is already behind the eight-ball once again.

RB4: Lache Seastrunk

Seastrunk was the ultimate highlight reel in his time at Baylor, but has yet to find a permanent home since entering the NFL. He was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round of 2014's draft, then bounced around to the Panthers then Titans' practice squads respectively. I remember a few BTB'ers being high on him coming out of college, but he benefited from Baylor's scheme. After reading a few scouting reports, not too many think that he's more than just a complimentary back, but he does have experience in a zone scheme. The Cowboys are hoping to give him the opportunity to impress during camp and maybe it will be enough to warrant a roster spot in 2015.

My take: I totally understand the confidence that many BTB'ers have in the offensive line, as do I. With that said, I don't see an improvement for this running game. I don't base that solely off Murray's departure, but more so that this position is too unknown for me to draw any comfort. A great offensive line is fine, but these backs will have to find the open holes and stay healthy. As a detractor to the committee approach, I want this team to find their lead dog, I'm just not sure he is on this roster.

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