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Cowboys 2018 draft: Why the Cowboys drafted Bo Scarbrough in the seventh round

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The Cowboys picked up a power back late, what’s the thinking behind the pick?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

At last, the Dallas Cowboys 2018 draft is complete. The team used its final pick in the seveth round (#236 overall) to nab Alabama power back Bo Scarbrough.

Scarbrough, who skipped his senior season at Alabama, will likely be brought in to battle Rod Smith to fill the Alfred Morris role, spotting Ezekiel Elliott occasionally and acting as his primary backup. Scarbrough is not known as a good receiving option and he’s also not likely to see a lot of time on special teams. Therefore, his only roles for the Cowboys is insurance against a lengthy absence from Elliott, or as a specialty short-yardage/goal line weapon.

Scarbrough is similar to former Tide bruiser Derrick Henry in terms of being a big, powerful back with a stand-up running style. While Scarbrough didn’t rack up the big numbers Henry did at Alabama, he still enjoyed quite a bit of success.

He only started twice in his sophomore year, but still racked up 812 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground (four receptions, 22 yards). Scarbrough was the Tide’s Offensive MVP against Washington in a College Football Playoffs semifinal with 180 yards and two touchdowns

The good folks at MockDraftable.com have Scarbrough’s measurables and it shows outstanding size and weigh but limited athleticism:

This is why Scarbrough’s role is likely limited to toting the ball on first or second down; he simply lacks the skills of a 3rd-down receiver and the speed/makeup of a special teams contributor. He could be the guy the Cowboys turn to when they need short yardage or to bulldoze into the end zone.

There are injury and durability concerns surrounding him as he missed games in multiple college seasons due to injury. Seeing he’s likely to be an insurance plan against a long-term Elliott injury this is a little disconcerting.

On the positive side, it’s hard to imagine Scarbrough fitting better with any other NFL team. With the Cowboys again upgrading the offensive line with second-round pick Connor Williams, Scarbrough could theoretically find himself running through wide avenues, which puts him at his most beastly, menacing best.

Our friends at Big Blue View did an in-depth look at Scarbrough and determined he would need a good offensive line to succeed.

Scarbrough is likely schematically limited at the next level, but if a team that runs their backs from behind center (as opposed to out of the shotgun) is looking for a sledgehammer of a running back, the big back from Alabama has to interest them.

He probably won’t fit in an offense that is built on outside zone runs, or requires their running backs to be receivers, but Scarbrough is impressively powerful. He is next to impossible for lone defenders to bring down, and often carries would-be tacklers (or drives defenders back) to pick up yards after contact, making him a weapon in short-yardage situations.

Overall, the running back position has received a serious infusion of size and speed. The trade for Tavon Austin (65 career rushes) and the draft of Scarbrough give the Cowboys three backs with widely varying skill-sets. In addition all three are 27 or younger, which is good for a position where injuries are ever-present.

With Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten all former Cowboys, the infusion of youth on the offense is mesmerizing. Every starter and every player expected to be a major contributor will be under the age of 30, with many under the age of 26. It’s a new dawn in Cowboy-land.