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Film Room: Bruce Anderson Could be the Lightning to Zeke’s Thunder

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: North Dakota State RB Bruce Anderson

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:

beast mode Bruce Anderson

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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:

Bruce Anderson inside power run

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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:

Bruce Anderson balance/agility

No Description

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:

Bruce Anderson receiving threat

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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:

Bruce Anderson ball security

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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.

Do you think RB Bruce Anderson would be a good fit with the Cowboys?


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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NFL Draft

Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Brian Martin

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Matt Miller's 2020 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Strengthen Their Secondary

What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for Bleacherreport.com and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.

Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.

25. Dallas Cowboys

Bryce Hall

Virginia Cavaliers CB Bryce Hall

The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.


The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.

According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.

Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.

I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?


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NFL Draft

2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.


J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.


But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.


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