Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, and Rod Smith have all had their moments in practices and these first three preseason games, but no one has really set themselves apart to become Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup in 2017. McFadden and Morris are the two most experienced and talked about to claim the job, but Smith might just be emerging as a real threat to become Elliott's primary backup.
With all of the uncertainty about Elliott's potential suspension, the backup RB situation becomes all the more important. Unfortunately, Elliott is so talented that whoever has to fill in for him if suspended will be a downgrade. But, the good news is they do have capable options available.
If I'm being completely honest, I think that Rod Smith has arguably looked the better of the three RBs so far. He just seems to be running with a different kind of energy and attitude than either McFadden or Morris. But, that doesn't necessarily mean he is climbing the depth chart yet.
Darren McFadden has the trust of the coaching staff and has already proven he is capable of handling the workload as a starter. It wasn't that long ago that he ran for over 1,000 rushing yards behind the Cowboys talented offensive line, but Ezekiel Elliott he is not.
Alfred Morris is another proven veteran who has found success in the NFL, albeit for the Cowboys division rival, the Washington Redskins. The word is that he has shown improvement in practices, but has only shown flashes in the preseason games. I don't know if it's enough to actually trust him with an expanded role.
The one RB though who has caught the attention of a lot of Cowboys fans, including myself, is Rod Smith.
Rod Smith is the older brother of Jaylon Smith, but doesn't receive the same type of publicity or notoriety of his younger brother. He has been on and off the Cowboys roster the past few seasons, but has shown enough to keep sticking around.
Smith was in a competition with Keith Smith (no relation) last season to become the Cowboy starting fullback, but eventually lost out. He was eventually released to make room for an injury replacement at another position, but was re-signed to the Cowboys practice squad after he cleared waivers.
His journey certainly hasn't been a smooth one, but the hardship he has been put through might just be why he is doing everything in its power to make sure he's not going unnoticed. I don't think he is under the radar any longer, in fact he might be the second best RB currently on the Cowboys roster.
At 6'3″, 240, Rod Smith is the biggest RB currently on the Cowboys roster. But, don't let his size fool you. He has looked more elusive than either McFadden or Morris and it could earn him more playing time these next two preseason games.
I don't know if the Cowboys coaching staff view Smith as a legitimate contender to become Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup or fill in for him if he's suspended, but I for one would love to see him get an opportunity with the first team offense. I think he at least deserves that in order to see what he's actually capable of.
Rod Smith can do it all. He plays on nearly every special-teams unit. He is a capable receiver out of the backfield. He has shown that he has a little bit more wiggle to this game than his size would suggest. He can pick up the “dirty” yards in short yardage situations. And, he is a good pass protector. What more could you ask?
I don't know about you, but I would like to see more of Rod Smith. I really think he could be just as good as Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris if given the opportunity. Hopefully he will receive that opportunity these next two preseason games.