clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys RB Tony Pollard named 5th most explosive runner in NFL last season

Strong praise for Cowboys runner Tony Pollard who ascends to RB1 this season.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The team with the most points wins. This remains the most important truth in the NFL. Now the matter of how this phenomenon ultimately happens is a part of the strategy that goes into the game that we all love. NFL teams devote all of their energy towards maximizing their odds of scoring, winning, you get the picture.

Obviously the quickest way to the endzone is the most-preferred path (generally speaking) which means you have to, well, be pretty quick. Quickness in the NFL is essentially defined as explosiveness and a big reason why the Dallas Cowboys did not get as far as we all would have liked last season is because they lacked explosive playmakers on offense.

This really showed up in the season-ending loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Once Tony Pollard went down and was lost for the game, the Cowboys could only rely on CeeDee Lamb. They have made efforts towards fixing that this offseason with additions like Brandin Cooks and Deuce Vaughn (shout out to the Luke Schoonmaker hive) but Pollard remains King of Explosiveness.

Tony Pollard was named one of the five most explosive runners in the NFL

Defining what makes a player explosive is a difficult thing to do, but thankfully we live in a time where there is all sorts of information available at our fingertips.

Recently, put together a list of the 10 most explosive runners from last season and used a measurement called explosive score. Here is their summation of it.

Explosive score takes into account each player’s top speed, average speed, number of big plays and more to produce a composite score on a scale of 0-100. As you’ll see below, my ranking of the 10 most explosive runners of 2022 relies primarily on explosive score to separate top performers, with supporting information to help you — the reader and football fan — understand exactly why they’re among the best in the NFL.

Basically an explosive score is the combination of all of the explosiveness that a player has during explosions. Got it? Got it. Good.

It turns out the Cowboys didn’t just lose an obviously explosive player when Pollard was injured against the 49ers, they lost literally one of the most explosive runners in the NFL.

5. Tony Pollard

Dallas Cowboys · RB

Explosive score: 87

10+ yard runs: 31

10+ pct: 16.1%

15+ mph runs: 43

15+ mph pct: 22.3%

Pollard is currently projected to be the top option in Dallas’ backfield, but he earned a spot on this list despite splitting carries last season with Ezekiel Elliott, who was released in March.

Pollard ripped off 31 runs of 10-plus yards, including 15 gains of 10-plus rush yards over expected. Like Chubb, Pollard’s top speed didn’t make a huge difference in his explosive score, but his 43 runs at 15-plus mph showed off playmaking speed that contributed to him finishing with 1,007 rushing yards on just 193 carries (5.2 per attempt). Unfortunately, Pollard’s Pro Bowl 2022 campaign finished with a serious leg injury in the playoffs. How long will it take him to get back up to full speed? And will he be able to carry an increased workload following Zeke’s departure?

While the idea of paying a running back even franchise tag money is not a popular one among Dallas Cowboys fans given recent history, it is hard to look at this information and not feel adamant about Pollard being in the fold of the team’s 2023 offense. When the ball is in his hands he is very difficult to touch and/or catch.

For what it’s worth, there are only two running backs in front of Pollard on this list. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was number four and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields took home the top spot. Jacksonville’s Travis Etienne (third) and Seattle’s Kenneth Walker III (second) are the only two actual running backs who beat out Pollard in this overall ranking.

It is hard to know whether or not Pollard will beat them out (or anyone else for that matter) in a season where he is expected to have a significantly larger workload, not to mention the fact that he is coming off of injury. But it seems pretty fair to say that he had to be a part of what this team is going to do this year, in many ways he himself is the quickest path to the endzone.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys