The Dallas Cowboys are loaded on the offensive side of the ball. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb form one of the NFL's best trios at wide receiver. Ezekiel Elliott is still one of the top running backs in the game, Blake Jarwin is set to breakout at tight end, and it's all engineered by Dak Prescott at the quarterback position.
With this much firepower, a player can easily get lost in shadows if he's isn't a starter, and when it comes to the Cowboys offense, nobody fits that label more than Tony Pollard, Elliott's backup. Pro Football Focus recently put out a list of the most underrated players on each team, and Pollard was the selection for the Cowboys.
Lead NFL Analyst Sam Monson explains why:
“The Dallas Cowboys are in a tough spot. By handing Ezekiel Elliott the contract they did, it is very difficult for them to reduce his role to the level it should be based on how Pollard has performed when given the opportunity. Since being drafted, Pollard is tied with Derrick Henry for the best yards after contact average in the league (4.0) and tied with Nick Chubb for the best broken tackle rate (0.25).”
Pollard didn't waste any time showing his ability in Dallas. In Week 3 of the 2019 season, the then-rookie rushed for 103 yards, making himself and Elliott the first set of Cowboys teammates to run for 100 yards in the same game since 1998. In Week 15, the duo went over the century mark again, with Pollard's 131 yards leading the way.
The former Memphis Tiger wrapped up his rookie campaign averaging 5.3 yards per rush (455 total rushing yards) and scored five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving).
He may not have had a 100-yard game in 2020, but Pollard continued to show, albeit in small doses, the playmaker that he is. In Week 11, Elliott's 103 yards grabbed the headlines but Pollard gained 60 yards on just five attempts and added a rushing touchdown. When Elliott was inactive for the Cowboys Week 15 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, Pollard rushed for two more touchdowns, including an explosive 40-yard run to seal the game late in the 4th quarter.
In his first career start with extended action, #Cowboys Tony Pollard played better than Zeke did at any game this year
Pollard had 132 total yards, which is more than in any game by Zeke this year. He had a 40-yard run. Zeke's longest all year was 26.pic.twitter.com/VNwpE26nOf
Pollard finished with 435 rushing yards (4.3 yards per rush) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) last season.
Not many teams have a backup running back like Pollard who can carry the load if need be and turn any given play into a touchdown. He's a great luxury to have and makes the Cowboy's offense that much more dangerous.