Dallas Cowboys

Darren McFadden has been where Ezekiel Elliott is as the No. 4 overall pick

Running back Darren McFadden (20) has welcomed the competition that Ezekiel Elliott brings.
Running back Darren McFadden (20) has welcomed the competition that Ezekiel Elliott brings. Star-Telegram

Darren McFadden has been in Ezekiel Elliott’s cleats. He was the fourth overall choice in 2008. Elliott was the fourth overall choice last month.

“Coming in as the fourth overall pick is going to be a lot of weight on your shoulders,” McFadden said. “But I feel like it’s something he can handle. He’s been doing a great job in OTAs. He’s a hard worker. He knows his plays, and that’s one of the main things for a running back.”

McFadden had veteran Justin Fargas to mentor him during his rookie season. Elliott has McFadden.

“He was in the same position Zeke is in, … so I think he saw what the guy ahead of him did in Oakland, and he’s trying to do the same thing for Zeke,” running backs coach Gary Brown said.

But McFadden and Elliott are competing for the starting job, with expectations that Elliott wins the job despite the 1,089 yards that McFadden had last season.

“I’ve been around the game long enough that I know there’s always going to be a new guy coming in whether they had picked him up in the fourth round or fifth or sixth or first round,” McFadden said. “I know the game. … I’m getting older, so I know there’s definitely going to have to be somebody to come in and take over.”

McFadden, who turns 29 in August, expects the Cowboys to have enough carries to go around. Alfred Morris, who signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in the offseason, said recently he expects one of the running backs to be gone before the start of the season.

The Cowboys also have third-down back Lance Dunbar, who is returning from knee surgery that sidelined him most of last season.