Most thought the Cowboys would have drafted a running back with one of their draft picks. After all, don’t they need some help back there with the departure of DeMarco Murray?
But the Cowboys simply weren’t willing to “reach” for a running back, and stuck true to their draft board. Coach Jason Garrett made that clear in an interview earlier today on ESPN.
“If you look over our drafts the last four or five years, probably the best thing we’ve done is have really good discipline on draft day,” Garrett said. “Often times you have a need, or a perceived need, that you feel like you have to go reach for a guy who you feel isn’t as good as a number of other players you have on the board.
“There were some running backs we were interested in at the top of the draft, in the middle of the draft and down here late in the draft, but I do think we had good discipline throughout taking players at other positions that we think can really help us.”
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Garrett went on to state the Cowboys feel good with their current running back corps, making it easier to avoid using one of their eight picks on an RB.
They signed Darren McFadden earlier this offseason, and have returners in Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams. None of them, however, are seen as legitimate replacements for Murray, who led the league in rushing last season.
But, with the Cowboys’ strong offensive line, Garrett feels the team is capable of continuing to have success running the ball next season and it has no intentions of going away from that philosophy.
“We’re going to run the football this year, that was a good formula for us,” Garrett said. “We’re a physical football team and running the football is going to be a big part of what we do. We have confidence in a number of the guys we have on our roster right now.”
Still, those internal options come with flaws.
McFadden has one 1,000-yard season in seven seasons, and has averaged only 3.3- or 3.4-yards per carry the past three seasons. Randle has only 105 career carries, and has raised plenty of questions with off-field issues. Dunbar is viewed as more of a change-of-pace back, and Williams spent all of last season on the practice squad.
Regardless, the Cowboys have preached since before the draft that they trust those four to get the job done.
As executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday, “I don’t think [running back] is a glaring need.
“If the right guy falls to us in the first round, then we would have taken him. If the right guy falls to us in the second round, we would have taken him. If the right guy falls to us in the third round, we take him. But I don’t think it’s something where you’ve got to stretch, and I think that is where you make big mistakes.
“Would we like to have a little more depth there? Of course we would. But if it doesn’t happen, then we really do like the four backs we have.”