The Dallas Cowboys can’t continue to play with fire in 2019 the same way they did last season. They need to find someone who can lighten the load on Ezekiel Elliott’s shoulders, because he is the engine that drives the entire offense. If he were to go down with an injury it would be catastrophic.
As much as I like Rod Smith, he just wasn’t talented enough to cut into Zeke’s touches. He did well for himself in 2017 as a substitute during No. 21’s suspension, but simply isn’t the right kind of complement/change of pace back the offense needs from their RB2. It’s time to find that player.
Enter Bruce Anderson, former North Dakota State running back.
I believe Bruce Anderson could be exactly the kind of RB the Dallas Cowboys need behind Ezekiel Elliott. He could be the lightning to Zeke’s thunder. But, don’t take my word for it. Continue to read below to see some of the clips I put together to showcase Anderson’s intriguing skill set.
2019 Senior Bowl Weigh-in
Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State | Ht: 5-11 1/4 | Wt: 209 | DOB: 6/20/97
Measurements- Arm: 32 1/4 | Hand: 9 | Wing Spin: 76 3/4
North Dakota State is a power running football team. They use a lot of multiple tight end sets and a fullback in their offense. Bruce Anderson has shown he’s more than capable of being successful in this kind of scheme, but I think might be even better in a zone blocking scheme like the Dallas Cowboys incorporate on offense.
The first play I want to share with you is one that kind of highlights all of Bruce Anderson’s strengths as a running back. He uses his unique skill set to go a little Beast Mode for an impressive rushing touchdown.
Anderson going Beast Mode:
This was hands down my favorite play I saw from Bruce Anderson in all the games I studied. I think it displays his strengths as a running back and why I’m so intrigued by his unique skill set.
I love how Anderson continues to press to the outside before using his vision to find the cutback lane. The defense has to respect his speed to the outside, causing them to over pursue. Anderson takes advantage of this, exploiting their mistake. Before the defense knows what to do he is past the second level and using his power to run over their last line of defense. He then turns on the jets on his way to the end zone.
Anderson Running Downhill:
Like I mentioned earlier, North Dakota State is a power running team. Try to ignore the fact this was a perfectly blocked play by the offensive line and watch Anderson’s approach to the line of scrimmage and how patient he is before exploding through the hole. He waits the perfect amount of time for his lineman to secure their blocks.
I also want to draw attention to how he keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and runs with his pads over his knees. He is ready to absorb the contact that never comes, all the while keeping his eyes/head up. I think this is important because often times we see RBs drop their head a little bit and it causes them to lose sight of where they’re going.
Anderson’s Balance and Agility:
The above play is another one of my favorites from Bruce Anderson. This is him making something out of nothing, and doing so quite impressively if I do say so myself. It’s an impressive display of balance and agility.
This is a play Anderson should’ve been tackled for negative yardage, instead he turns it into a 15+ yard gain. He is able to slip the first tackle and maintain his balance before getting hit once again, which caused him to spin 180° around all the while maintaining his balance. He then tight ropes the sideline showing off his balance and agility once again before capping off the run with an impressive leap that picks up an extra 5 yards.
Anderson’s Pass Catching Ability:
As you can see from the play above, Bruce Anderson is a natural hands catcher and can be a threat in the passing game in the NFL. This was a simple wheel route out of the backfield that he was able to take to the house for a touchdown.
Anderson immediately puts the defense in a bind due to his free release out of the backfield and speed to quickly get down the field. He then shows the proper hand placement to snatch the ball out of the air and isn’t phased at all with a defender diving at his feet. He of course will need to expand his route tree in the NFL, but he has the tools to do so.
Anderson’s Ball Security:
I probably place more importance on ball security than most people, but it absolutely drives me nuts to see a player put the ball the ground. Luckily, I was pleased to see Bruce Anderson has been coached up to carry the ball high and tight while also securing the points of the ball between his elbow and hand.
You can see from the clip above Anderson putting the ball close to his chest as soon as he takes handoff off and keeps it high and tight even while running through traffic. In doing so it makes it extremely difficult for defenders to strip the ball as evidenced above. Anderson simply spins out of the attempt and picks up extra yardage.
As you can see, there is a lot to like about Bruce Anderson and his potential fit with the Dallas Cowboys. They have supposedly already met with him at the Senior Bowl, so we know he is at least on their radar. I believe he would make a really good addition to the Cowboys backfield and be a good change of pace back to Ezekiel Elliott.
I don’t know about you, but I see a little Alvin Kamara when I watch Anderson play. He has a lot of the same qualities as a runner and receiver and can be utilized in the same manner. I think he’s an intriguing mid-round running back option for the Cowboys.