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Did the Dallas Cowboys improve at running back in 2018?

Taking a good look at every position on the roster and asking the question: Did the Cowboys improve?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

[In this series, we’ll take a look at the additions and subtractions at every position on the Dallas Cowboys roster. We’ll compare where the Cowboys were to where they currently sit and ask the ultimate question. Did the Cowboys improve or not? In other words, do you feel better about the state of the roster going into the 2018 season?]

Last season:

RB1 Ezekiel Elliott - 10 starts, 242 attempts, 983 yards, seven TD’s, 98.3 rush YPG, 4.1 YPC, 26 receptions, 269 yards, two rec. TD’s

RB2 Alfred Morris - 5 starts, 115 attempts, 547 yards, one TD, 39.1 rush YPG, 4.8 YPC, seven receptions, 45 yards

RB3 Rod Smith - One start, 55 attempts, 232 yards, four TD’s, 15.5 rush YPG, 4.2 YPC, 19 receptions, 202 yards, one rec. TD

RB4 Darren McFadden - Active one game, released Nov. 26th

FB1 Keith Smith - 16 games, three receptions, 26 yards, signed two-year deal worth $3 million with Oakland Raiders

RB Trey Williams - Practice squad

This season:

RB1 Ezekiel Elliott

RB2 Rod Smith

RB3 Bo Scarbrough - drafted 236th overall (7th round), College stats: Three seasons at Alabama, 267 attempts, 1512 yards, 5.7 YPC, 20 TD’s, 21 receptions, 131 rec. yards

FB1 Jamize Olawale - traded fifth-round pick to Raiders + their sixth-round pick, 55 career attempts, 206 yards, four TD’s, 39 receptions, 425 rec. yards, three rec. TD’s all with Raiders

RB Trey Williams

RB Darius Jackson - 216th overall pick by Cowboys in 2016, returned after stint with Browns on May 30th, 2018

RB Jordan Chunn - UDFA from Troy, College stats: 679 attempts, 3,124 yards, 4.6 YPC, 47 TD’s, 84 receptions, 558 rec. yards

Ezekiel Elliott will continue to be the focal point of the Cowboys offense and his 98.3 yards per game average was best in the NFL last season. Despite missing six games, Elliott came 17 yards shy of reaching 1,000 yards rushing. Had his averages held for a 16 game season, he would have eclipsed 1,500 rushing yards, had 12 rushing touchdowns, with 400+ yards in receiving, and three receiving scores. Those numbers would have vaulted him to the rushing title for his second-straight season. His 983 rushing yards managed to still finish Top-10 in the NFL.

Rod Smith showed the door to Alfred Morris in only one start and a small sample size of production. The game in New York last season was Smith’s coming out party as he dominated them in the short-passing game catching all five passes for 113 yards and an 80+ yard score. In Elliott’s six game absence, Smith scored five touchdowns in four games. Smith was one of a few guys that did great things with the ball in his hands late in the year.

The Cowboys weren’t exactly excited to lose Keith Smith after converting him from linebacker to fullback. However, by trading for Jamize Olawale, they protected themselves at the position and brought in another crafty safety lever in the passing game.

During the draft, the Cowboys found great value in their selection of Bo Scarbrough in the seventh round. This organization had had veterans like McFadden and Morris in the past but going younger is the right move. Most studies would show that running backs are their most valuable on their first contract. Scarbrough was never the top guy at Alabama but his last four games of 2016 were phenomenal. He put up 454 rushing yards with eight scores against Auburn, Florida, Washington, and Clemson. He’s got a “Derrick Henry” feel to him and could be an excellent complement in the Cowboys offense.

The last three guys on the depth chart will have a hard time making the final roster. It doesn’t seem likely that they keep more than three and a fullback because they want to save some spots at receiver. Still, there is practice squad availability for a guy or two.

Poll

Did the Cowboys improve at running back in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Yes
    (1476 votes)
  • 5%
    No
    (102 votes)
  • 8%
    Indifferent
    (151 votes)
1729 votes total Vote Now