Mac Engel

Cowboys own the NFL’s most interesting 7th round pick in mammoth former Bama back

Bo Scarbrough is confident that he can contribute to the Cowboy’s running scheme

Former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough provides depth to a Dallas Cowboys running back unit behind Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith.
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Former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough provides depth to a Dallas Cowboys running back unit behind Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith.

Exactly no one knows just how big Bo Scarbrough is, including the Dallas Cowboys.

The rookie running back is listed in the Cowboys media guide as 6-foot-1, 235 pounds. A few sentences down on the same page, he’s also listed as 6-foot-3, 228 pounds. On the Cowboys’ website, he’s 6-foot-2, 228 pounds.

According to the NFL, Bo is 6-foot-1, 228 pounds.

According to his alma mater, he’s 6-foot-2, 235 pounds.

According to my own eyes, Bo Scarborough is 8-foot-6, 434 pounds.

By comparison, the Cowboys’ Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith are both listed at 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds. Those two are linebackers.

For whatever reason, a man built to play linebacker and dismember ball carriers is a running back himself, which makes Bo not the Most Interesting Man in the World, but easily the Most Interesting Seventh Round Pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Bo came out after his junior year at ‘Bama to end a college career that was good, but left so many people wanting more. There’s a reason he was drafted in the seventh round.

In recent years, Alabama has produced a slew of decent NFL running backs who all thrived in college behind dominant offensive lines.

Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry were all brilliant runners at Bama, whose success in the pros has varied from good to great to laughable bust.

Nothing about this Bo’s game says it will last forever in the NFL, but everything about his frame and resume says he can help this team in the short term. His style is reminiscent of former Cowboys running back Marion Barber, but Bo’s frame is so big and he’s so athletic he should be able to last longer than The Predator.

Selfishly, I want to see this guy play.

As a seventh round pick, there are no guarantees he will make the roster. The only way he can ensure a spot as the team’s third running back is to be proficient in tackling on special teams.

According to the man himself, this isn’t a problem.

“I did the same thing in college,” he said. “On punt coverage.”

And the last time he played defense was in high school.

“I played safety and defensive end,” he said.

He was fast enough to cover receivers as a safety, and big enough to pressure the pocket as a defensive end. There’s a reason he was regarded as the best high school football athlete as a senior.

Despite his size and ability to run, he said he was never persuaded to play a position other than running back. Not sure what his high school coaches were thinking, but he’s a Cowboy because of his ability to run.

And should Scarbrough carry the ball much this season it means something has gone terribly wrong; either NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott again, or he’s hurt.

And should Scarbrough carry the ball much this season it means Zeke’s backup, Rod Smith, is either hurt, or can’t play.

Scarbrough’s best shot to land a job with the Cowboys this season is to tackle people on special teams, and then to run them over in compressed areas on short yardage plays.

Save for one play in the first two preseason games, nothing Scarbrough has done has made you scream at coach Jason Garrett, “Give it to that guy!”

In two fake games, Bo has 31 rushing yards on 13 carries; 28 of those yards came on one carry in the first game at San Francisco. He scored a touchdown shortly thereafter. He’s also caught three passes in the fake season for 28 yards.

“He’s humble; I think where he was drafted humbled him,” Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown said. “He’s worked his butt off. Given our situation at running back, he has to be good on special teams. Most rookies have to do that.”

At ‘Bama, Bo was special and another good running back.

With the Cowboys, he’s just another rookie trying to earn a job. If he does maybe then they’ll know exactly how big he is.

Texas Live! opens smack in the middle of the Texas Rangers Globe Life Park and the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, the evening ending with concerts by Eleven Hundred Springs and The Toadies.

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