Once the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott in the first round, Darius Jackson figured his dream of returning to his roots was dead.
But Jackson, who moved from Garland when he was in junior high, got the call from the Cowboys in the sixth round.
“After Zeke got taken, I didn’t think they were looking too much at running backs,” Jackson said Saturday on the second day of the team’s rookie minicamp. “But I got a call from them during the draft. … I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’ I was happy. I was really excited. I was happy to come here and compete.”
Jackson joins a crowded running backs room that includes veterans Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden as well as first-round pick Elliott. Morris and McFadden have four career 1,000-yard seasons between them.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
The Cowboys kept four running backs on their 53-player roster most of last season, though the names changed.
“We’re five-deep at running back, but they didn’t draft you for no reason,” Jackson said. “So I’m excited to play for the Cowboys and compete for a spot. I feel like I’m a great situation actually, even though we’ve got Zeke and McFadden and Morris and Dunbar. Hey, I’m ready to go, ready to get to practice.”
Jackson rushed for 1,067 yards and 14 touchdowns on 207 carries last season and finished his career at Eastern Michigan with 1,575 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Raiders, Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Texans and Chiefs all showed interest before the draft. He was happy to end up in Dallas despite the competition.
“It might have been a little later [than he wanted to be drafted], but it was the Cowboys,” he said. “I was willing to wait for that.”