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Film Review: What Bo Scarbrough Brings to the Cowboys Running Game

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That’s probably the best way to describe the Dallas Cowboys new running back, Bo Scarbrough. He was never really the lead back at Alabama, but that’s okay because it’s the same role he will be asked to play now that he’s with America’s Team.

The Dallas Cowboys decided to close out the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting Bo Scarbrough to provide depth to the running back position. As it turns out, he was the last running back taken by any team.

Scarbrough probably isn’t very happy he didn’t hear his name called until the seventh round, but I don’t think he’s going to complain where he ended up. He will now be running behind one of the most talented offensive lines in the entire NFL. Who wouldn’t be excited?

The 6’1″, 228 pound running back hopefully won’t see the field very much unless the unthinkable happens to Ezekiel Elliott or Rod Smith, but he can still carve out a role for himself as early as this season.

But what kind of role can Scarbrough have with the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie? Let’s turn to the film to see what he can bring to Dallas.

The first thing that jumps off the tape about Bo Scarbrough is his size and physicality. He is often compared to former Alabama and current Tennessee Titan RB Derrick Henry, and for good reason.

Both Henry and Scarbrough are long-legged, physically imposing RBs who have an upright running style. They are at their best when they are able to carry their momentum forward running north to south, but struggle when moving east to west. They are one cut downhill runners who like to impose their will on opposing defenders.

running downhill breaking 5 tackles

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This is one of my favorite plays of Bo Scarbrough. This is the type of physical downhill runner the Dallas Cowboys are getting.

This was a 3rd and 2, short yardage situation that Scarbrough turned into a touchdown by breaking five tackles on his way to the end zone. He really didn’t have to make a single cut on this run after taking the handoff. His best traits were on display… his strength, power, and leg drive.

breaking tackles moving laterally

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The clip above is not only my favorite play of Bo Scarbrough’s, but probably his best run of his entire collegiate career.

I mentioned earlier that he is at his best when he can carry his momentum forward running north to south, but struggles when asked to run east to west. The play above kind of contradicts that because his momentum is initially stopped at the line of scrimmage, but with his strength and footwork, he is able to break free for a long run and TD.

Unfortunately, Scarbrough wasn’t utilized much in the passing game during his time at Alabama. He only had 21 receptions for 131 receiving yards on mostly swing passes and dump offs. He doesn’t look unnatural catching the ball or anything, he just wasn’t used much in this area in college.

This is a part of his game he will need to develop more in the NFL if he wants to have a chance at becoming a featured back. Another area he needs to improve is his pass protection.

pass protection

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Scarbrough is solid in pass protection, but really needs to improve his technique at the next level. He has been able to get by on using his size to slow down defenders so far, but he won’t be able to do that in the NFL.

I don’t foresee this to be a problem though. It is easily correctable if given the proper attention and better coaching. I think he is willing enough and will put in the time to improve.

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Overall, Bo Scarbrough is a meat and potatoes running back. He is probably limited to being a short yardage/goal line RB with the Dallas Cowboys, but could probably fill-in as the featured back a few games if needed.

He is a stiff hipped runner with very little wiggle to his game who will need a clear running lane to be affective. He does bring more power to the Cowboys running game and could help wear down opposing defenses with his battering ram running style.

There are questions about how much he can contribute to the passing game. He wasn’t asked to do it much at Alabama, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily incapable of catching the ball out of the backfield.

He probably won’t see a lot of playing time as a rookie since he is buried on the depth chart behind Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith. But, he still provides valuable depth and can likely be depended on in case of emergency.

What do you think of the Dallas Cowboys selection of Bo Scarbrough?

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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