It's starting to appear that the Dallas Cowboys may have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the running back position. Rookie Mike Weber averaged almost a thousand yards per season on nearly six yards per carry in college and he's a third-stringer. All-Pro Ezekiel, who is currently in the middle of a holdout as he seeks a new contract, is considered by most as the best in the NFL as far as ball carriers are concerned. Now, it's becoming clear that there's another potential star in the making on the RB depth chart with rookie Tony Pollard who hasn't stopped turning heads since he stepped on the field.
The videos above show a touchdown run by Pollard during the Cowboys annual Blue-White scrimmage at training camp. So many of his attributes are displayed in this particular play. He has patience, great vision, the ability to change directions without losing speed and feet that never stop moving. You'd lucky to find a running back with just a couple of these outstanding traits, Pollard gives you that all in one package.
During last Friday's practice, Pollard showed off an underrated skill that's vital to becoming a complete running back, pass blocking. Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was one of the best blocking running backs in NFL history. Ezekiel Elliott is probably the best amongst active running backs. Pollard demonstrated on this particular play that he's willing to get physical and does a nice job on Linebacker Jaylon Smith who was applying pressure to Dak Prescott. Seeing as Pollard will be in on a lot of third downs when he sees the field, which could mean a lot of passing plays depending on the flow of the game, it's encouraging to know Dak Prescott has a reliable extra pass blocker with the rookie on the field.
Pollard has impressed Prescott quite a bit during that last week as training camp commenced in Oxnard, Ca. Giving the diamond in the rough some high-level praise when asked what he's seen so far.
“When we’re in the offense, we’re in the offensive units, we’re in the team meetings and Coach calls him out on his responsibility, without a hesitation he’s getting it right,” Prescott said. “That’s what you want to see from a young guy. That’s what the players and coaches want to see, and he’s been delivering.”
“One of the most exciting players to me of this training camp.”
“Pollard really showed the ability to plant quick, plant his feet and his quick feet,” Jerry Jones said after the Blue-White scrimmage. “He is obviously about as smooth an athlete and certainly a running back. You saw the flexibility.”
“If he continues to get better and better and better, which he’s got to, I think you are going to see a guy who plays early for the Cowboys.”
Pollard was mainly a backup during his days as a Memphis Tiger and he made every play count. He rushed for nearly a thousand yards on 6.8 yards per attempt. When lined up at receiver, he caught 104 passes for 1,292 yards. The most eye-opening stat to me is the 9.2 yards per touch he averaged on the collegiate level, basically a first down every time the ball was in his hands. The Cowboys have a backup running back with an all-around skill set that is comparable to their all-pro starter. As he continues to impress the organization is looking smarter and smarter with this draft pick.