It is no secret that the Dallas Cowboys offense received an extreme makeover over the last couple of months. Whether it was through addition or subtraction, there are a ton of new faces, and plenty of shoes to fill in Dallas. One addition that has seemingly flown under the radar is the addition of fullback Jamize Olawale. Olawale started his career off with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012, before being released and then signing with the Raiders before the start of the season. The Cowboys’ front office saw an opportunity to bring Jamize Olawale back to where he started his career after losing Keith Smith in free agency. They did not hesitate.
The Cowboys traded their fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft to the Raiders in return for Oakland’s sixth-round pick and fullback Jamize Olawale. At the time, this wasn’t a big talking point, and many thought that Olawale may even be a downgrade from former-Cowboy-now-Raider, Keith Smith. While the two players are similar in some ways, they are also very different in others.
The first thing you notice when turning on the tape of Jamize Olawale is how many different things he did for the Oakland offense. Olawale would lineup at fullback, running back, receiver, and even tight end at times for the Raiders. In each of those roles, Olawale would do a little bit of everything, whether it was catching the ball, running the ball, or blocking.
Here we’ll see Olawale working out of the backfield in the shotgun formation. When the ball is snapped, Olawale’s first job is to chip a familiar face in Jason Pierre-Paul. He does an excellent job of putting JPP on his rear, then getting open for Derek Carr.
Jamize Olawale with a nice pick up of 9. pic.twitter.com/0JoRlNrWVc— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) June 6, 2018
In the clip above, Olawale gets the handoff out of the shotgun and shows his impressive vision, athletic ability, and change of direction. The initial hole that Jamize wanted to hit was filled by the defensive tackle, but Olawale quickly changed direction for a nice gain. Remember, this is a 240-lb fullback, not a 210-lb running back; that makes these runs even more impressive.
Olawale really runs with some burst between the tackles. He could potentially get a few more carries than we normally would expect from a fullback. pic.twitter.com/B0r8plTnJm— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) June 6, 2018
Another pair of nice runs here from Olawale. You notice the burst he runs with once he gets going. With his ability to run the ball at this level, it may allow Dallas to go light at the running back position and go heavy at another position.
The questions surrounding Jamize Olawale are more about his blocking ability. Oakland’s offense runs a high percentage of their plays out of the shotgun, so he doesn’t do a ton of lead/pass pro blocking. What blocking that does show up on tape, shows a guy who is willing, uses good technique, and welcomes contact. Gary Brown, and likely Paul Alexander, will spend some time with him this offseason working to develop him as a blocker to open up holes for Ezekiel Elliott, and maybe give quarterback Dak Prescott an extra second or two in the pocket.
The last and final thing that Jamize Olawale can bring to the Cowboys offense is his ability to not only catch the ball out of the backfield, but also line up as a tight end or receiver and still make plays.
It’s not often you see fullbacks line up as receivers and run actual routes. Olawale does just that here and hauls in an inaccurate pass from Derek Carr. This isn’t a play that will make any sort of highlight reel, but it still is impressive to see a 240-lb fullback do so many different things in space and with the ball in his hands.
Another rep with him lined up as a receiver in the slot. Olawale runs a quick four-yard comeback, but he’s able to shake the defensive back and pick up nine. We’ll have to wait and see how Scott Linehan uses Olawale, but little things like this should get you excited for all the different ways Olawale can be deployed.
FB wheel route. Fun little concept here. pic.twitter.com/DXzTl3B6Qv— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) June 6, 2018
The last clip is of Jamize Olawale running a fullback wheel route. You rarely see this, which is probably why he was so wide open. But still, we most give him credit for hauling in the pass from Carr, and out-running almost everyone on defense. With Ezekiel Elliott also being a receiving threat out of the backfield, it’ll be interesting to see if Scott Linehan wil design plays to use Elliott as more of a decoy to free up Olawale in certain situations and formations just like Oakland did above.
Now as you can see, Jamize Olawale has all the tools to be a successful blocker, runner, and receiver, but he needs Scott Linehan’s help in order to reach his full potential. This is a huge year for the offensive coaching staff, and having weapons like: Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Terrance Williams should make it easy to design a bunch of different plays. But don’t forget about the name Jamize Olawale. We could see the 6-foot-1, 240-lb fullback be deployed in a variety of ways in Scott Linehan’s offense in 2018.