All the draft pundits out there have spoken about the recent Cowboys draft (NFL 2011) and a wide class of draft guru’s (self anointed titles) has questioned the drafting of D-Mac (Demarco Murray RB University of Oklahoma). For the most part, the so called “experts” aren’t questioning his talent but rather his injury history and the Cowboys need for help in more pressing areas (CB,SS, FS, OL, DE, etc.). I can’t argue about the Cowboys fan base screaming about filling those areas of pressing need but I can equally embrace this pick and how quickly the fans will be screaming as D-Mac breaks for a TD run or catches a TD pass or returns a punt or kick back for a touchdown. Trust me that will happen and very quickly.
One needs to simply review any number of highlight reels or read the record books to fully understand that this young man left Oklahoma with a case full of trophy’s and some serious record achievements during his time in Norman, OK.
The records that stand out like Dez Bryants boxers is his number of touchdowns scored (65) while playing for the Sooners. I have listed below a partial list of his accomplishments below and then we will delve into the reasoning for my statement of D-Mac becoming the “featured back” in Coach Garretts offense by mid season.
Career Records at University of Oklahoma
- All-Time Leader in Points Scored (390)
- All-Time Leader in Touchdowns (65)
- All-Time Leader in All Purpose Yards (6,718)
- All-Time Leader in Receiving Yards for a Running Back (1,571)
Let us all remember that OU has produced such caliber of elite NFL running backs such as……oh….. Adrian Peterson? What would Dallas look like right now if Jerry had traded up to draft AD (All Day Adrian Peterson aka “Purple Jesus”)? Of course we drafted Anthony Spencer DE from Purdue but I bet a dollar to a donut that every single person that claims to know anything about football would trade those picks any day?
Too be clear, I am not claiming that Demarco Murray is better than or even equal to Adrian Peterson. However, I am saying that D-Mac has a very strong chance of becoming a top 10 RB in the NFL over the next few years. Murray has the speed, skills, strength, passion and intelligence to put up similar numbers as many of the NFL’s elite runner today.
Without focusing too much on his injuries, we can see that a dislocated kneecap and a hamstring injury can end a career or derail the path of a mighty talented RB to say the least. Factor in his ankle fracture injury and it is easy to see that D-Mac has dealt with many injuries during his time at Oklahoma. I could say something about an injury riddled offensive line at OU during the 2009 season or I could tell you about the sharing of a work load due to the depth of talent up in Norman. However none of that would make the naysayers change their minds about choosing DeMarco instead of ….maybe John Moffitt G Wisconsin or perhaps Curtis Marsh DB Utah St. or Chris Conde DB California. There were plenty of arm chair GM’s calling for secondary or offensive line help with the Cowboys 3rd round pick. Dallas clearly took the best player available and what a deal indeed. Talk about value, Dallas landed one of the value picks of the draft in my humble opinion.
Okay, so let’s talk X’s and O’s. After all this is where the real tongue battles are going to start and be played out a 1,000 times until the season starts. First of all let’s talk about his speed (4.41 in the 40 yard dash). Overall he had the 12th fastest time in the 40 of all players at the combine. Secondly, he actually had a 4.38 but his “official” time was listed at the 4.41. Thirdly, he is 6-1 and 212 pounds and very strong to go along with his pure straight-line speed. With over 70 receptions and 5 TD’s during his final year at OU, Murray has both excellent running and pass catching abilities. He grades out as above average in pass blocking as well, so we have a player that does not need to come off the field on 3rd downs. In fact, we have a player that can remain in the game and help pick up the blitz, shed a blocker and run to the flat, catch that pass and use his speed burst down the sidelines for big chunks of yards and hopefully many touchdowns.
As most of you know, Marion Barber III is due a big roster bonus along with a big salary for the upcoming season. I am a huge MB3 fan but I would not pay him anymore than 1 million a year at this stage of his career. His time is done here in Dallas and Felix Jones certainly needs to step it up or he will be out of here by 2012. Jones was not drafted to be a “up the gut” type of runner and he will need to drop some weight and go back to a third down specialist that he is. Choice will handle the primary work load while Murray learns the nuances of playing in Coach G’s intricate offensive scheme. By mid-season Murray will use his brain as much as his legs or hands and will have a grasp of what Romo is trying to do. Murray will come to camp, sleep with his playbook and will soon be making those crazy runs and catches – just like he did at OU. Then the “naysayers” will have a change of attitude and reason to cheer once again for the Cowboys of 2011.