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Rico Dowdle may Already Have RB3 Position Locked up for 2021

The have many areas on their roster that need attention during the . However, the at could very easily go unchanged from last year. The top two players are obvious, and second-year prospect did enough in 2020 that he should be a heavy favorite as the third RB this season.

We all know that and will return as the one-two punch at running back. If anything, Dallas has struggled to find ways to give Pollard enough touches the last two seasons behind a workhorse starter like Zeke.

This dynamic has made the third running back a low priority at times. In fact, the Cowboys didn't even keep a true number-three in 2019 and just had ready in case of emergency.

But last year Olawale opted out under the policy and created more of a need, both to back up Elliott and Pollard and on units. This is where undrafted Rico Dowdle was able to find a niche and make the for the entire season.

In the tradition of number-three RBs like and Phillip Tanner before him, Dowdle made his bones on special teams. Not only did he serve on coverage units but Rico, unlike those former Cowboys, also got some looks as a return man on kickoffs.

As we saw in Dallas' near upset win over the , Dowdle should compete for that role again in 2021.

The key to making the bottom of the depth chart at so many NFL positions is through special teams work. If Rico Dowdle can remain a fixture on coverage units while also giving the team an option as a return man, he will be very hard for anyone to beat out for his roster spot.

It's unlikely that he will see any major competition joining the RB ranks this . With Zeke locked up and two years left on Pollard's rookie contract there's no need to make a significant or use a draft pick at the position. That should leave Dowdle as a the front-runner going into .

The biggest threat to Rico's job security in 2021 is if the Cowboys decided to revert back to their 2019 strategy and only keep Elliott and Pollard at running back. This could happen if Olawale returns or they decide they want some other pure fullback helping the run game as a lead blocker.

But again, players who provide versatile value like Dowdle tend to stick around. It's how guys like Phillip Tanner (2011-2013) and Rod Smith (2015-2018) managed to have a combined seven seasons with the Cowboys and stints with other teams despite rare usage on .

In an offseason with so many questions to answer, it's nice to have one position that doesn't need much attention. The Dallas Cowboys could stand pat with their current running back trio and be just fine for 2021, thanks in part to the underrated value of Rico Dowdle.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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