The Cowboys could still have some touches available behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Dowdle was almost a lock to have the role last season until his year ended with a hip fracture in the third preseason game. The Cowboys would soon add veteran free agent Corey Clement to fill the depth chart. If Dowdle can be ready to go after a knee scope procedure sidelined him earlier this offseason, he might be the guy who takes that spot.
Davis is a product of the University of Florida. In his career, he racked up 1,470 on 284 carries. He was also a threat in the passing game for the Gators during his last two seasons. Davis caught 54 balls for 594 yards.
Shampklin was a 2021 unanimous First-Team All-Ivy League running back at Harvard. He led the team with 842 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns, which was tied for the eighth-highest in the FCS.
The NFL season is long. Elliott or Pollard might have to miss a game or a few quarters throughout the 17-game season…. (I hope not). Doing so would result in whoever is holding down the reserve spot moving up and possibly called upon to take some Important carries.
Will the Cowboys find enough depth at receiver to move on from an established veteran like Noah Brown?
Noah Brown, WR
Receiver Noah Brown has been with the Cowboys since 2017, and while he’s largely been a special teams contributor, he did play well with limited opportunities last season. Brown finished with 16 catches and 184 yards.
The competition at receiver will be one of the most heavily scrutinized in Cowboys camp. Dallas is looking to replace both Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. and may not have Michael Gallup early as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Working in Brown’s favor is the fact that he’s already well-versed in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s system. Working against him is the fact that Dallas also added James Washington and rookie Jalen Tolbert in the offseason.
With Gallup, Washington, Tolbert and CeeDee Lamb on the roster, there will be a fight for the final couple of receiver spots. 2021 fifth-round pick Simi Fehoko could have an edge because of his draft status. 2021 undrafted free agent T.J. Vasher has flashed big-play potential during the offseason.
“He’s made some really big-time flash plays, splash plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said, per ESPN’s Todd Archer.
Knowing the offense might not be enough for Brown to last another season in Dallas. He can be an asset as a depth receiver. To do that, though, he’ll have to prove in camp that he not only has a solid foundation but also the sort of upside that Fehoko and Vasher can offer.
This season is Tony Pollard’s opportunity to become the Cowboys’ starting RB - Lucas Mascherin, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys have a big decision to make at running back after this season.
After impressive growth year-over-year, Tony Pollard can now become the Dallas Cowboys’ starting RB
From an efficiency standpoint, the Memphis product appears to be the better choice moving forward. That is especially considering his ability to play at wide receiver as he did in college.
The NFL is a pass-heavy league. Running backs must now adjust to find a role to help make that part of the game better beyond just running the ball. Elliott is versatile in his ability to block and sometimes makes an occasional catch. Pollard does it by running routes and making plays in space.
Let’s also remember that longevity at the running back position is not common. Their countless hits make it almost impossible to be dominant for a long time. While Elliott has just under 2,000 career touches (which don’t include picking up blocks), Pollard has a low 399.
The biggest issue surrounding overtaking Elliott is the massive contract he signed. He is currently on the hook for $18.2 million against the cap in 2022.
While releasing him this season could cost a huge $30 million dead cap hit, that number drops to $11.9 million next season. With a $16.7 million cap hit for 2023, releasing the former Buckeye would save America’s Team just under $5 million.
The Cowboys have made a real effort this offseason to add depth at tackle, including an under the radar UDFA from Texas named Amon Simon.
How He Got Here: Signed as an UDFA following the draft, Simon was a three-year starter at Texas A&M Commerce. After redshirting his freshman year in 2016, he played all 13 games during his redshirt freshman season the following year for a Lions squad that went on to win the Division II National Championship. He earned first-team All-Southland Conference honors in 2018 and 2019, including AP second-team All-American honors in the latter season. Unfortunately, he missed the 2020 season due to the COVID pandemic before Division II football returned in 2021.
What’s Next: Dallas has done their best to stockpile offensive line depth this offseason, though it still remains to be seen how impactful those moves will be. The Cowboys could still sign a veteran free agent as they begin training camp to help secure the depth with much of their current options being mostly unproven. As for Simon specifically he will have plenty of competition for a backup tackle spot but will mostly see time on the practice squad to continue to grow and work towards an opportunity.
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