The Dallas Cowboys are already deep at the running back position and carrying more RBs on their 53-man roster than they normally do, but I think an influx of youth behind Ezekiel Elliott is needed.
Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris have noticeably lost a step, but are expected to carry the workload if Ezekiel Elliott has to serve a suspension or goes down with an injury at some point during the season. Neither is a bad option, but both players aren’t spring chickens anymore.
Darren McFadden has had a long list of injuries throughout his NFL career and I don’t know about you, but every time he takes a big hit I cringe. Plus, it’s doubtful he returns after the 2017 season, which means the Cowboys will need to find another backup RB.
Alfred Morris is likely only on the roster still because of the uncertainty still surrounding Ezekiel Elliott. Morris would likely have been a roster cut, and like McFadden, he doesn’t have a future with the Cowboys.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. The Dallas Cowboys still have Rod Smith on the roster, but if they were comfortable with him as Elliott’s backup, they likely wouldn’t have kept Alfred Morris around.
Keeping all of that in mind, I think there are two current free agent running backs that the Dallas Cowboys should seriously consider bringing in for not only the 2017 season, but for the future as well.
Just about everybody thought that Jonathan Williams would be the RB2 behind LeSean McCoy, but the Buffalo Bills obviously thought otherwise. Williams ended up being one of the Bills roster cuts so that they could get down to their final 53-man roster. It was a surprising move to many, but it could work out in the Cowboys favor.
Williams was a 2016 fifth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills. He played collegiately at Arkansas and had a pretty good, although injury plagued collegiate career. He played in 11 games last season in Buffalo and ended the year with 27 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.
I believe Williams would make a good backup RB behind Ezekiel Elliott. He has good size for the position (6’0″, 223) and the skill set to be a three down back in the NFL. He has loose hips and nimble feet to go along with outstanding lateral movement to sidestep defenders. Despite what his size would suggest, he is a good slashing back and is a dependable receiver out of the backfield.
Jonathan Williams could be an upgrade behind Elliott and would help stabilize the position for years to come. If I’m the Dallas Cowboys I would at least have him in for a workout and kick the tires so to speak.
*Update: Jonathan Williams signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad
It wasn’t long ago that Jeremy Langford looked to be the starting RB of the future for the Chicago Bears. But, after an injury plagued 2016 season, he found himself among the Bears final roster cuts. He is now a free agent just waiting for his phone to ring. Could the Dallas Cowboys be on the other end of the phone?
I personally think Langford would be best served as a backup RB in the NFL and that is exactly what he would be as a member of the Cowboys. The former fourth-round draft pick by Chicago still possesses some intriguing tools to entice the Cowboys to possibly bring him aboard.
Langford was a WR before converting to running back in college and he does possess breakaway speed (4.42 40 yard dash). He’s not the most physical runner, but he doesn’t shy away from contact either. He is solid in pass protection, and as you can imagine, he has natural receiving ability.
Jeremy Langford could be the third down/receiving type RB the Cowboys currently don’t have on the roster. I think he would be an upgrade as a backup RB and be a solid starter if he was thrust into action. But, who knows if the Dallas Cowboys feel the same way.
*Update: Jeremy Langford signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice