The Dallas Cowboys came out of last Thursday's Hall of Fame Game relatively healthy but not completely unscathed. Fullback candidate Sewo Olonilua, arguably the front-runner at the position right now, suffered a neck injury and could miss significant time.
An undrafted free agent last year, Olonilua spent most of 2020 on the practice squad but did get called up for a couple games. After veteran Jamize Olawale opted out under the COVID-19 policy, Dallas elected to go without a true fullback for the majority of the season.
The Cowboys released Olawale last March and didn't make any significant move to replace him. They signed Louisiana's Nick Ralston as an undrafted rookie, making him and Sewo Olonilua the only FB options in training camp.
Cowboys FB Sewo Olonilua suffered a neck injury Thursday in the Hall of Fame Game, and although the evaluation is ongoing, the belief is he could be “out for a while,” a source said. Unfortunate setback for Olonilua. Had been competing for a 53-man roster spot.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 8, 2021
When it comes to the fullback position, the bigger question in 2021 has been if the Cowboys would keep one at all. The theme of FB obsolescence is well know throughout the modern NFL, with Dallas being one of the holdouts thanks to the previous influence of Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan.
Kellen Moore is new school and clearly not as devoted to the traditional fullback. And while Mike McCarthy was known for having productive FBs with the Packers, we've yet to see that he's brought any of that to his next job.
As of last Thursday night, Sewo Olonilua was getting the first opportunities over Nick Ralston. Only the coaches know if that was based on merit over just deferring to a 2nd-year player over a rookie; we're still too early into camp and preseason to know for sure.
But now, with Olonilua out and perhaps for a while, Ralston is the only true FB left for practices. Will more reps help him to make the team, or could Olonilua's absence only push Dallas further toward not keeping a FB at all?