Very few topics have been debated more than the prospect of taking a first-round running back. Many feel the position itself, with the wear and tear it produces leading to a lack of longevity, makes it instantly a less-than-advantageous first-round selection for any team to consider. When teams draft they take into account all factors and while there are many, some tend to lean toward the value of the pick when they think of the selection. Running back or not, when a team is on the clock they will each choose based on need or the value it presents. As it pertains to running back, it doesn’t make too much sense for the Cowboys to force a selection.
There is also a feeling around the league that as you go down the draft, similar production can be found at the running back spot even as you get into the deeper rounds, thus making the first round better suited for other positions to be selected.
Additionally, drafting RBs high is not "safer" than other positions, and does not correlate to better production from the RB position.— Joey Ickes (@JoeyIckes) April 21, 2023
You just can't legitimately justify the idea of spending premium (picks or $$) on the running back position, with any quantifiable measures.
While all this may be true to a degree, the reality sets in that as we watch, cover, and enjoy the Dallas Cowboys, we know they have zero issues with doing exactly what they want regardless of how we all feel about it. There isn’t a team in the league that stands on their convictions, wrong or right, more adamantly than Jerry and the ‘Boys. Knowing that, and understanding that, is why not only is running back a real option at pick 26, there are two legitimate options there that the Cowboys wouldn’t hesitate to select.
The facts are the Cowboys value the running back position. They do so more than most of the league, and as a result they consistently remind us of their perceived notion of setting up the pass by using the run. They overpaid for Ezekiel Elliott after taking him fourth overall in 2016, and as we sit here in 2023 with Zeke gone, it shouldn’t be shocking to anybody if they plan to fill the void the best way they know how. Right or wrong, the Joneses believe in the star running back as a roster philosophy.
We all know about Bijan Robinson, but a close second at running back has been Jahmyr Gibbs. The position is polarizing and a debate hot button, so naturally it’s been an interesting selection to ponder. The conversation on Gibbs tells us a lot about the draft cycle as a whole. At times the word was he was a second-round guy, comfortably. Fast forward some weeks and at his peak of speculation there were reports he may be viewed higher than Robinson by some circles. While that may be a bit much, where his market has settled is squarely in the middle-to-late first round world and with the Cowboys in the back half of that, and with very few true needs to address on the roster, Gibbs to Dallas becomes a very real possibility.
The 5’9”, 199 lb running back out of Alabama is certainly a dynamic and productive player. In his final season at Bama, Gibbs totaled 151 carries, 926 rushing yards, and seven touchdowns. An interesting note is how Gibbs is viewed around the league from the talent evaluators. According to Lance Zierlein, Gibbs’ NFL comparison is Alvin Kamara, and if that translates, that’s another dangerous weapon to add to any offense regardless of how we feel about the draft spot.
The Cowboys have done well this offseason with talent acquisition and are able to go into the draft with an open mind. The team hasn’t pigeon-holed themselves into needs like they did last year, and as a result we all knew which way they were going to go.
That is not the case this year, and for that reason all options are on the table, including the much-debated running back in round one, even if it is running back number two in many peoples eyes.