The Dallas Cowboys could make one more move at running back before training camp.
As suggested by Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, former Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Darrell Henderson Jr. could be an ideal candidate for the Cowboys. Spielberger brings up Tony Pollard’s leg injury and the fact that rookie Deuce Vaughn — he’s 5-foot-5, 179 pounds — may be a scat back more than a workhorse one as reasons why Dallas should pursue Henderson.
“Dallas awaits the return of top running back Tony Pollard from a broken leg and added dynamic scat back Deuce Vaughn out of Kansas State with an NFL Draft video that caused a lot of tears nationwide, but the team still needs an early-down bruiser who can lower his shoulder and fall forward behind a good push from the offensive line,” writes Spielberger.
Why the Cowboys Should Consider Darrell Henderson Jr.
Following the 2023 NFL Draft, the Cowboys are still lacking viable depth at the running back position. While Pro Bowler Pollard returns as the starting running back this time around, Dallas is lacking a bell-cow at running back. Ezekiel Elliott previously served in that role for the Cowboys, leading the team in carries with 231 attempts last season.
However, following Elliott’s release at the beginning of the offseason, Dallas has yet to add a running back that is similar to their former starting running back. Although Henderson is significantly smaller than Elliott — 5-foot-8, 208 pounds compared to Elliott’s 6-foot, 228-pound frame — he has previously served as a viable starting running back for the Los Angeles Rams.
Henderson started at running back for the Rams during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, including the year in which they won Super Bowl LVI. During those two seasons, Henderson started 21 of his 27 appearances and racked up at least 138 carries, 624 yards and five touchdowns in each of those years.
Spielberger cites Henderson’s big-play ability and previous role as an early-down bruiser for the Rams as reasons for why the Cowboys should sign the veteran back.
“The former Los Angeles Rams third-round pick was waived last season and landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he was productive as an early-down runner in 2020-2021, earning an 83.8 rushing grade that ranked 14th among running backs,” writes Spielberger. “His 40 explosive rushes over the span also ranked in the top 20.”
Cowboys Lacking Viable Options Outside of Tony Pollard
Outside of Pollard and Vaughn, Dallas returns second-year running back Malik Davis and a two-time Super Bowl champion running back in Ronald Jones. Davis certainly showed signs of potential during his rookie season. However, he carried the ball just 38 times for 161 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Meanwhile, Jones once displayed potential as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting running back during their Super Bowl season in 2020. However, he was replaced in starting lineup by Leonard Fournette and had just 17 carries last season for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Cowboys may feel like they already have a back that’s similar to Henderson in Jones. But Henderson possesses more reps over the past two seasons — 265 touches compared to Jones’ 129 touches — and likely has a better chance of making the roster as Pollard’s complementary back over Jones.