With Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and Rico Dowdle currently under contract it seems pretty unlikely the Dallas Cowboys invest any draft capital into the position in the 2021 NFL Draft. But, if they do there are a few sleeper running backs I think they would be wise to target in the later rounds or as undrafted free agents.
If you're like me and wouldn't mind the Dallas Cowboys adding another running back on Day 3 or an UDFA, then stay tuned because I think I have three RBs who'd be nice fits in Dallas. Each one brings a little something different to the table and each one also has had to overcome their fair share of obstacles to hopefully fulfill their NFL dream.
Let's take a look, shall we!?
RB Chris Evans, Michigan
Player metrics are becoming a big part of the NFL and Chris Evans has one of the better Relative Athletic Score (RAS) at 9.84 on a 0 to 10 scale in the 2021 draft class. If you've seen his film or been lucky enough to witness him play in person that shouldn't come too much of a surprise. He has starting traits worth developing, but also hasn't played much since 2018.
Chris Evans unfortunately missed all of the 2019 season due to an academic suspension and was used sparingly in 2020 once he returned to the lineup. His contact balance and cutting ability helps him create extra yardage on his own and he's efficient catching the ball out of the backfield as well. Because of that he'll likely be drafted on Day 3, so maybe he's not that big of a sleeper.
RB Jake Funk, Maryland
Now we're starting to get into the deep sleepers. Jake Funk has had to battle back from two ACL surgeries, but has still been able to put together some really good film that could get him drafted late on Day 3. Funk's RAS rating of 9.76 out of 10 isn't quite as high as Chris Evans' 9.84, but it's still one of the best in the entire 2021 draft class.
Jake Funk is an intriguing RB prospect who reminds me a little bit of Rex Burkhead because of all of the ways he can contribute. He's an outstanding special teams player and is surprisingly athletic as a RB with good hands, speed, and power. He's the kind of Swiss Army knife depth player who can play a variety roles, which could help him carve out a long career in the NFL.
RB Kene Nwangwu, Iowa State
Kene Nwangwu was a backup during his time at Iowa State and as such didn't receive a lot of playing time, but when he did he impressed. He is an athletically gifted RB prospect, which is probably why his 9.88 RAS score is one of the best amongst all prospects in this year's draft class. As impressive as that is though, he has an intriguing skill set as well.
Why Nwangwu didn't receive more playing time during his time at Iowa State is beyond me. He has three-down ability and the size, speed, power, and elusiveness to be a starting caliber RB. He also has shown the ability to be a good receiver out of the backfilled as well. And, on top of that he can contribute on special teams as a kick returner, where he averaged 26.8 yards per attempt in college.