With the departure of Rod Smith, there was a glaring need for a backup running back in Dallas. Tony Pollard was drafted in the 4th round, but the Dallas Cowboys didn’t stop there, selecting Mike Weber in round 7 with the 218th pick.
Weber is no stranger to Ezekiel Elliott, having redshirted in 2015 at Ohio State. In 2016, he would start all 13 games for the Buckeyes, and they were very productive. He rushed for 1,096 yards and 9 touchdowns, with an average of 6.0 yards per carry. Along with that he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and achieved second-team All-Conference honors. His sophomore year he was limited with a hamstring injury, but still managed to score 10 touchdowns, the most in his college career. In 2018, he was relatively healthy, and even though he only started two games, he finished just shy of a thousand yards with 954.
There will be an interesting battle between Smith and Tony Pollard for who is the number two behind Elliott. With Pollard having the ability to return kicks, run jet sweeps and line up at receiver he definitely has the edge over Weber going into training camp. But a player with his skillset definitely won’t make it easy to beat him out. He has really good vision as a downhill runner and is an adequate pass catcher. His motor never stops and he gives maximum effort on every play. However, he doesn’t always show the acceleration you would like to see with his start to stop quickness, and his pass protection skills will definitely have to improve, considering he’ll be in on third downs a lot if he sees the field.
Ezekiel Elliott will get the lion’s share of the carries. Tony Pollard has a leg up as the backup. If Weber makes the roster and can display his own set of skills this will benefit the entire group. Elliott is the engine that makes the Cowboys go so preserving him as much as possible is key. Let’s just say Weber is beaten out as the primary backup. Being that Pollard is so versatile, Weber could also see the field at the same time. You can lineup Pollard at receiver and Weber as your primary runner on third downs. This allows Pollard to take less of a pounding carrying the football. Also, this strategy will keep Elliott fresh as well if Kellen Moore chooses to do so. A world of possibilities here if all three have a star on their helmet week one.
There was a small injury scare during the first wave of OTAs when Weber felt soreness in his knee. Fortunately, the former Buckeye only needed rest after undergoing an MRI and returned to practice shortly thereafter.
Mike Weber has an uphill battle in front of him to contribute to the Cowboys in 2019. Pressure either makes you or breaks you in the NFL, but that’s what makes it fun right? With mini-camps and OTAs out of the way, it’s time to buckle up the chin strap and get to work in Oxnard for training camp. His college teammate Elliott is already endorsing him, giving Weber that much more confidence. It doesn’t matter what pick you are, it’s just a number, but it’s on you to produce when your number is called.