The newly signed running back Alfred Morris, makes it appear that the Dallas Cowboys are pretty much set at the position, but as we know looks can be deceiving. It only takes one injury to completely change the dynamic of the entire depth chart.
Alfred Morris was signed to just a two-year contract. Darren McFadden is entering the last year of his contract. Lance Dunbar signed a one-year contract and is still working his way back from a major knee injury, which might result in him starting the year on the physically unable to perform list. Rod Smith and Ben Malena are long shots to even make the final 53 man roster.
So basically the Cowboys know they have Morris and McFadden penciled in as their starters, but beyond that they don't really know the status of the other running backs on the roster.
I fully expect that they intend on addressing this concern with a rookie running back and there are quite a few options that should be available for them throughout the draft. I really don't see them addressing this concern in the first couple rounds. The more likely scenario is finding someone that would add depth in the middle to later rounds and develop them into a valuable contributor.
One player in particular that I'm intrigued by and believe the Dallas Cowboys should take a good long look at is DeAndre Washington out of Texas Tech University.
The former Red Raider can immediately step in and fill that third-down role that Lance Dunbar has occupied for the last couple of seasons and do so while hopefully remaining healthy.
Texas Tech is mostly known for their aerial passing attack, but Washington has proven himself to be an effective weapon in the offense, as both a runner and a receiver.
Despite Washington's small stature, he is a physical runner with the ball in his hands and doesn't shy away from contact. He has great vision and has the stop-start quickness to make him difficult to get a handle on. Unfortunately, he will struggle a little bit with pass protection because of his size, but it's not because of lack of effort.
Washington has really benefited from playing in the Red Raiders pass-happy offense and is more than capable of being a threat out of the backfield as a receiver.
Watching Washington play reminds me a lot of current Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, a player that is perhaps one of the better dual-threat weapons in the entire NFL. Washington reminded me so much of Bernard that I decided to do little research to determine how much the two players were like.
Look at how similar their combine workout results were, for an example:
|Giovani Bernard||DeAndre Washington|
|Measurements:||5'9″, 205 lbs||5'8″, 204 lbs|
|40 yard dash:||4.53||4.49|
|Bench press:||19 reps||24 reps|
|Vertical jump:||33.5 inches||34.5 inches|
|Broad jump:||122 inches||118 inches|
|3 cone drill:||6.91 sec.||7.03 sec.|
|20 yard shuffle:||4.12 sec.||4.20 sec.|
|60 yard shuffle:||11.41 sec.||11.63 sec.|
I found it really interesting how similar they were in just about every category, based on their combine workouts. They are nearly a mirror image of one another. It's crazy!
After finding everything so eerily similar, I decided to take it a step further and take a good look at their career stats at the collegiate level.
|DeAndre Washington (TTU)|
|Giovani Bernard (UNC)|
Again, the numbers that Washington and Bernard were able to put up in college were pretty similar, but it's difficult to analyze these numbers properly because they played at two different universities, that ran two different types of offenses.
Nonetheless, there is no denying that Washington is an interesting prospect that could possibly have the same type of success that Bernard has been able to have thus far in his career in the NFL.
The Cowboys would be wise to keep a close eye on DeAndre, especially considering the fact that Dunbar is questionable to start the season. If nothing else, he would provide competition and valuable depth at the position.
Washington could be a steal in this draft since he is currently ranked to be selected anywhere from the sixth round to possibly going undrafted. I highly doubt the Cowboys would be willing to use one of their sixth round draft picks on him, but he would definitely be someone they could target as a priority free agent.
It won't really matter where Washington gets drafted, or even if he ends up going undrafted; I have no doubt that he will become a threat in the NFL, so why not with the Cowboys?