Running Back Rico Dowdle has been placed on injured reserve due to his hip and will miss the 2021 season. The second-year prospect was a favorite to make the Cowboys' 53-man roster both for his offensive potential and his contributions on special teams.
Dowdle was an undrafted free agent in 2020 and forced his way onto the roster. While he only got a few carries last year behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Rico became one of the key special teams players and was returning kickoffs by the end of the season.
After an impressive training camp and preseason performances Dowdle appeared on track to keep his roster spot. But now moving to IR before the start of the season, Rico will not be eligible to return until 2022.
What does this mean for the Cowboys RB position? While it could open the door for current rookies JaQuan Hardy and Brenden Knox, it might also prompt Dallas to just keep two backs on the official roster.
In 2019, Pollard's rookie year, Dallas went into their first game with only Zeke and Pollard as true running backs. They also had Jamize Olawale at fullback, who had some offensive skills and served as the emergency third RB.
We could see a similar strategy in 2021 with a new fullback, rookie Nick Ralston. It was already looking like Ralston could earn a roster spot and this situation could make it even easier for him.
With both Elliott and Pollard looking to be fully healthy going into Week One, Dallas could easily decide to just roll with them and have Ralston as an emergency option and short-yardage back
The Cowboys will host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday for their preseason finale. We will likely see a lot of Hardy and Knox at RB, perhaps battling for that RB3 spot if there's one to be had.
Unfortunately, the most deserving option is no longer available. Our best to Rico Dowdle; hopes for a speedy recovery and strong return in 2022!