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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #23 Rico Dowdle

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 23.

RB Rico Dowdle
Born: 14th June 1998 (25) - Asheville, North Carolina
College: South Carolina Gamecocks
Draft: 2020, UDFA, Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats:
Snaps: 99
Penalties: 1

Rico Dowdle joined the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2016 and missed the first portion of his freshman year due to having surgery for a sports hernia. He still managed to play nine games and led the team in rush attempts. He finished his freshman season with 764 rush yards and seven total touchdowns.

The next year, Dowdle was named the starter at running back but only played eight games when he broke his leg and missed the remainder of the season. He registered 66 carries for 251 yards and three touchdowns.

Downdle’s junior year finally saw him play in every regular season game. He had 123 carries for 654 yards and five total touchdowns. During his final year in 2019, Dowdle struggled with a groin injury during the offseason and then missed two games during the regular season with a knee injury. He was second on the team in carries with 108 and went for 498 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Cowboys Review:
His rookie year at Dallas saw him earn the RB3 role behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. He managed by Week 6 to get handed the ball on a handful of carries, but since then it’s been all special team work for Dowdle. The last two seasons has seen him be placed on injured reserve, and make that what you will. But the coaches obviously have a plan in mind for Dowdle since he’s been around on the team in that time with very little production to show for it. In the last four years, he’s averaged 3.4 yard per carry on the extremely limited attempts for Dallas, and he’s still waiting to score his first regular season touchdown.

2023 Roster Projection:
This is one of the hardest projections to make. The running back room is extremely hazy in terms of not only what players make the final cut, but also how they will rank on the depth chart. Dowdle can be seen as being behind the eight-ball this year since they have their guy at RB1 which is clear, a veteran with starting experience, a back that has already impressed and scored a touchdown last year and then two rookies that the coaches really are trying to push to see what they have.

Dowdle isn’t without talent, he just has issues of durability throughout his college and NFL career, so it makes questions as to what his availability would be with a full season. But here’s the story as it stands for Dowdle. The coaches feel he is currently the leader for RB2. A number of analysts and people close to the team have all mentioned Dowdle as the guy to beat out for the backup running back role. His ability to contribute on special teams holds potential to keep him around even more so as the coaches are emphasizing versatility a lot this year. But the fact he’s a different style runner than Pollard and Malik Davis gives him a bigger advantage again for the backup role, he just needs to stay consistent leading up to Week 1.

2023 Projected Stats:
Snaps: 302
Rush Attempts: 190
Rush Yards: 646
Rush Avg: 3.4
Touchdowns: 1

The Big Question:
Will Rico Dowdle be this year’s backup running back? Let us know in the comments.

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