The Dallas Cowboys chose not to re-sign Felix Jones this offseason after drafting him in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Jones was drafted to be a change of pace, homerun type of running back for the Cowboys and even though there were glimpses of explosion from Jones, he never lived up to his draft status.
Dallas felt comfortable letting go of Jones because they felt they had a capable starter in DeMarco Murray and had solid backups in Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar. Dallas believes that Dunbar, who showed great speed and elusiveness during training camp last season, can adequately replace Jones as the change of pace, third down running back on their roster.
In fact, Dunbar seems to be the opposite of Jones. Felix Jones was a high draft pick who began his career with such success and promise, while Dunbar went undrafted and is taking some time to develop. The Cowboys love his quickness and athleticism and their faith in Dunbar has been rewarded since he has looked great this offseason. Dallascowboys.com scout Bryan Broaddus has talked to Cowboys players who believe Dunbar has the ability to be a nightmare for defenders.
“There’s something there. I was talking to Sean Lee, I said, ‘Hey this Dunbar —’ and he goes, ‘My gosh. What a nightmare to have to cover.’ Jason Witten also thinks if Dunbar were to be the third back you could see 50-, 60-catch type of player, just for his elusiveness there.”
That would be a ton of production from a third down, change of pace running back. Dunbar’s had a year to learn the NFL game and it looks as if he’s prepared to have a bigger role with the Cowboys in 2013. He’s a big play waiting to happen and he’s got more speed than Murray, so the Cowboys could use that explosion in the running game.
The Dallas depth chart appears to be set at the top with DeMarco Murray and possibly Joseph Randle as his top backup but watch out for Lance Dunbar in 2013. He just might be everything the Cowboys expected from Felix Jones.