Ezekiel Elliott could soon spot a familiar face at The Star.
According to multiple reports, the Dallas Cowboys are interested in adding Texas associate head coach and run game coordinator Stan Drayton to Mike McCarthy’s staff, likely as running backs coach, replacing longtime incumbent Gary Brown.
ESPN’s Todd Archer notes that Drayton visited the Cowboys on Thursday, while Sirius XM NFL Radio analyst Gil Brandt — ex-VP of player personnel for Dallas — reports Drayton is also being courted by the Los Angeles Rams.
“The Rams and Cowboys appear to be in a war for the services of Texas run game coordinator Stan Drayton to become their RB coach,” Brandt tweeted Friday.
Drayton and Elliott know each other from their time at Ohio State. The former coached there from 2011-14 (first instructing wide receivers, then running backs) and the latter played for the university from 2013-15, accumulating 3,961 career rushing yards and helping lead the school to a National Championship.
“Stan Drayton – that’s my guy,” Elliott said during an interview at the NFL Combine in 2016, via SI.com. “He … made me into a great player.”
Drayton defected to the Chicago Bears in 2015, taking a job as RBs coach. Under his tutelage, Jordan Howard exploded onto the scene, breaking out for 1,313 yards during his 2016 rookie campaign.
Drayton returned to the college ranks in 2017 when the Longhorns came calling — with a promotion. He was named assistant head coach and run-game coordinator, as well as RBs coach, under HC Tom Herman.
In 2019, Texas boasted three players who totaled more than 600 rushing yards, including quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The team’s ground game ranked 48th among 130 NCAA programs. Collectively, they averaged 4.78 yards per carry — 176.5 yards per game — and scored 26 touchdowns.
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McCarthy Makes Surprising Decision on QB Coach: Report
New Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is expected to take a hands-on approach with the offense, and that rendered Jon Kitna obsolete.
Per ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Cowboys are parting ways with Kitna, the team’s quarterbacks coach this season, as McCarthy continues to oust holdover members from the previous regime.
A former NFL QB who twice played for Dallas (2009-2011; 2013), Kitna joined the organization following a 2018 one-and-done head-coaching stint at Brophy College Preparatory, an all-boys high school in Phoenix. He took over for Kellen Moore following the latter’s promotion to offensive coordinator last January.
Working in tandem with — and reportedly at times in opposition to — Moore, Kitna was key in helping produce a breakout year for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw for a career-high 4,902 passing yards, one shy of tying the team’s all-time single-season record held by Tony Romo.
The former Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl-winning coach is moving swiftly in stocking the cupboard as he sees fit. Per recent reports, the Cowboys have hired a new defensive coordinator (Mike Nolan), special teams coordinator (John Fassel), assistant head coach/offensive line coach (Joe Philbin), and defensive line coach (Jim Tomsula).
McCarthy, likely to handle offensive play-calling duties, also hopes to keep Moore on staff. Additionally, Werder reported Saturday that McCarthy is retaining incumbent tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier, although his role has yet to be determined.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL