The Dallas Cowboys have a lot needs in the 2018 offseason. Running back may seem low on the list, but Dallas should not take it for granted. They have an opportunity to add some needed speed and explosion to their offense.
Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith will form an exciting one-two punch at the top of the RB depth chart. Alfred Morris’ contract has expired and it’s unlikely he’ll return with Smith’s late-season push for a larger role.
Rod Smith is an ideal backup for Elliott. He has the right mix of power and athleticism to run some of the same plays, plus he’s not a bad receiver. He could even work as the third-down back when Zeke needs a breather.
Between those two, Dallas has all the power and standard running they need. That’s why I believe they should use the number-three spot this year on a true speedster.
I’m sure the first name that pops in mind is Lance Dunbar, who held that role to varying degrees from 2012-2016. Dunbar could be used in a variety of speed-based plays, go out as a receiver, and even return kicks at times.
The Cowboys have a candidate for this role already in Trey Williams, who was on the practice squad and will be with the team at least to start the offseason.
Small and versatile, Williams looks like he fits that Dunbar mold. However, Williams isn’t a true burner. He clocked just 4.49 at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s quick and agile, but isn’t necessarily going to beat guys to the edge.
With the way Dallas’ offensive linemen can move and work out in space, a back with blazing speed could do some real damage. All he needs is a lane and he could make house calls.
Right now, wide receiver Ryan Switzer is the only player Dallas has who can assume some of those Dunbar-like roles. He could be effective on screens and reverses. But a guy with those same skills at RB can be even more dangerous. He can leave defenses guessing even more because they’re not sure which position he’s playing until after the huddle breaks.
That third roster spot is wide open, so the Cowboys should spend the offseason looking for a weapon that provides a different skill set and more for opponents to worry about.