NFL Dallas Cowboys

Finding DeMarco Murray Some Help Through the 2013 NFL Draft

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DeMarco Murray

Matthew Emmons USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Dallas Cowboys hosted some 2013 NFL Draft prospects for pre-Draft visits this week.

In total, 15 prospects toured Valley Ranch; they met with the coaching staff and even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, himself. Each team is allowed to bring in up to 30 prospects prior to the Draft.

It appears as though the Cowboys are particularly interested in the offensive line and rightfully so. The Cowboys did invest $108 million into re-signing quarterback Tony Romo; so protecting him would logically be the next step. Among those invited to Valley Ranch were guards Jonathan Cooper, Justin Pugh, Chance Warmack and center Travis Frederick.

The Cowboys also invited three running backs: Le’veon Bell, Knile Davis, and Joseph Randle. Now, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again and again, “the quarterback’s best friend is a good running game.” Unfortunately for Romo, he doesn’t have one.

Say what you want about DeMarco Murray, but I think that he is a good running back. The biggest knock on him is that he can’t stay on the field. So, after back-to-back seasons where he’s had ankle problems, the Cowboys need to find a talented back to help alleviate some of the load Murray has to carry.

The running back crop in this draft isn’t one that will make say, “whoa, there’s a guy that can carry the ball 20-25 times,” but it does have some backs that will make you ask, “how’d this guy not get drafted earlier?”

Stephen Jones said he didn’t think that Phillip Tanner or Lance Dunbar would make solid No.2 backs, so without a doubt the Cowboys are going to be looking to add a running back in the later rounds. Along with those who have already visited valley Ranch, these are five running backs who could interest the Cowboys, that is of course after they take care of some of their more pressing needs i.e. the offensive and defensive lines.

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Eddie Lacy

Robert Mayer-USA-TODAY-Sports

I saw all I needed to see from Lacy in the national championship game where he put on a show. He showed that he could be a very good running back at the next level displaying his power, acceleration, and elusiveness. Lacy finished his career collegiate career with a higher yards-per-carry average (6.8 YPC) than Trent Richardson (5.8 YPC) and Mark Ingram (5.7 YPC), both of whom were first round selections.

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Stepfan Taylor

Richard Mackson-USA-TODAY-Sports
Richard Mackson-USA-TODAY-Sports

Taylor in my opinion is one of the most complete backs in this draft class despite his poor combine numbers. He put together a very good 4-year collegiate career, which included 4,300 yards and 40 touchdowns, but as I said before his 4.76 40-yard dash discouraged most, if not all, NFL scouts. Taylor did say he was battling an ankle injury, but that does little to help his stock.

However on tape Taylor displays that he’s as tough and as productive as they come. I’ve heard pro scouts say you can’t measure players solely on their combine numbers, and I think this is one of those cases. Two things he does better than most are; catch the football, evident by his 94 catches over the past three seasons, and protect the quarterback, where some have called him a master of the cut block.

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Giovani Bernard

Bob Donnan-USA-TODAY-Sports
Bob Donnan-USA-TODAY-Sports

The one red flag on Bernard is that he tore his ACL in 2010; however, he bounced back quite nicely by posting 1,253 yards in 2011 and 1,228 in 2012. He’s not the biggest running back by any means, at 5’8” 200 Lbs., but he is a back that can get the job done. He’s reliable in the passing game and in the blocking game, which will make him an option as a possible third down back at the next level.

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Montee Ball

Robert Hanashiro-USA-TODAY-Sports
Robert Hanashiro-USA-TODAY-Sports

If his NCAA-record 83 career touchdowns don’t tell you this kid can play, I don’t know what will. At 5’11” 215 Lbs., Ball has the size to be a successful running back at the next level; however, he doesn’t posses the home-run speed that some scouts say is necessary for him to be a No.1 back.

What separates Ball from the rest of the pack in my opinion, is his vision. He consistently found running lanes against defenses and very rarely did he go down on first contact. He brings a type of consistency rarely seen in young running backs, and much like Taylor, he’s a guy that should be judged more by his film than his numbers at the Combine.

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Johnathan Franklin

Richard Mackson-USA-TODAY-Sports
Richard Mackson-USA-TODAY-Sports

Franklin was a highly-productive back during his four years in college. He averaged 5.6 YPC and scored 34 total touchdowns. He’s also pretty good at catching the ball out of the backfield, and he’s a reliable pass protector. What makes him intriguing, however, is his speed and the ability to take just about any touch to the house.

Jesus Flores is a Dallas Cowboys writer for Follow him on Twitter @SSgtFlo1