Time for the Dallas Cowboys to dump DeMarco Murray
With DeMarco Murray on pace to miss his sixth-straight game on Thursday, I think it’s time the Dallas Cowboys begin to look at running back prospects.
Last season the Cowboys drafted Murray in the third round and for a little while it looked as though Murray was the steal of the draft. He burst onto the scene and set the Cowboys single-game rushing record with 253 rushing yards against the St. Louis Rams.
There’s a reason, however, that Murray dropped to the third round; he’s fragile. He was hurt in college, got hurt during his rookie year, and is hurt this year. Worst part of the injury is that it involves his feet. What good is a running back that can’t use his feet?
Through his first five games Murray wasn’t very impressive, he rushed for 330 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. When he went down, the Cowboys went with oft-injured backup Felix Jones.
Jones has been decent in his four starts, but is a far cry from the running back the Cowboys drafted him to be. In a contract year, Jones showed up out of shape, non-explosive and fragile as ever. It seems as though Jones jogs to the sideline holding something different after every play.
As fans we constantly ask for continuity of the team, but when they shuffle running backs, offensive linemen, defensive linemen and defensive backs almost every game, is that even feasible?
The Cowboys need guys who are not only consistent in their production, but guys who can consistently stay on the field. Murray and Jones are not those guys, weren’t those guys in college and won’t be those guys going forward.
Jones shouldn't be back next year, no matter what, and Murray isn't durable enough to be an every down back. Maybe they shouldn't completely dump Murray yet, but at best he's the team's short yardage or third down back.
I think it's time to start evaluating prospects for the 2013 NFL draft. Currently these five running backs are on my radar.
Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford
Taylor (5’11” 215 lb.) is about as well rounded a running back as I’ve seen in years. He does an extraordinary job in blocking, receiving and of course toting the rock.
He’s a balanced runner with good vision and explosiveness to hit the hole quickly. He’s not a burner, but possesses enough speed to be successful at the next level. He possesses the power to push through defenders and gain yards after contact as well as in short-yardage circumstances.
I like him on account that he’s durable and doesn’t turn the ball over.
Montee Ball RB Wisconsin
Ball (5’11” 215 lb.) is said to be a product of the system in Wisconsin, but I beg to differ. If he were a product of the system, why haven’t more running backs in that system come close to putting up the numbers he has?
Ball has excellent vision and balance, and I personally like the way he runs behind his pads. He’s excellent after first contact and has great acceleration. He lacks top end speed, but makes up for it with shifty moves and a quick first step.
What I like the most is that he’s durable, is a willing blocker, and he doesn’t fumble the ball.
Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State
Randle (6’0” 200 lb.) is another intriguing running back prospect. He works well in traffic and has the balance to stay on his feet after contact with a defender. He has excellent acceleration and wastes very little time getting to full speed.
He has very good vision, which allows him do find room as a runner and as a receiving threat coming out of the backfield.
While he lacks ideal size, that can be worked on by the team’s strength and conditioning coaches. He’s a durable back and hasn’t missed much time due to injury throughout his career.
Zac Stacy RB Vanderbilt
Stacy (5’9” 210 Lb.) isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you’re dissecting college running back prospects. Neither was the name Alfred Morris, and you’ve seen how that turned out for the Washington Redskins.
Vandy’s all-time career rushing yardage leader possesses very good lateral movement and burst, which help him hit the hole quickly. He accelerates quickly and has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. He has great hands and can contribute as a punt returner.
I like Stacy, because he’s a hard worker and he possesses a good blend of size and speed. He’s had some minor injuries, but injuries were not a concern with him.
Rex Burkhead RB Nebraska
Burkhead (5”11” 210 Lb.) is another name that doesn’t jump off the board when discussing the top running back prospects, but like those who made my list; there are very few things he doesn’t do well.
He’s a very compact 210 pounds and has very good balance, which he uses to run close to the ground and behind his pads. He’s by no means a burner, but has adequate speed and mobility, which allow him to find the hole in the line and explode through it. He’s as hard-nosed a prospect as there is and is the workhorse of the Nebraska offense
I like Burkhead because he’s a hard working, blue-collar type of a guy. A local of Dallas county, some scouts refer to him as a smaller version of Peyton Hillis.
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