Cowboys Could Land Former Highly Touted RB: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could target recently waived RB Darrell Henderson.

The Dallas Cowboys could bolster their running back depth even further with a former starting running back.

As noted by Logan Ulrich of NFL Trade Rumors, the Cowboys could target the recently waived Darrell Henderson, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams. Henderson was surprisingly waived by the Rams on Tuesday, November 22, just a couple days after appearing in the team’s 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 11.

While the Cowboys already feature arguably the league’s top one-two punch at running back in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Ulrich argues that Dallas could use a little more depth at running back considering Elliott’s recent knee injury.

“Dallas is pretty set with the tandem of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard leading their backfield,” said Ulrich. “However, Elliott is banged up a little and the team doesn’t trust Pollard to carry the full-time load as a bell cow back. When Elliott was out the past few weeks, Dallas gave Malik Davis 13 carries across two games.”

Ulrich points to Henderson’s connection to Cowboys running backs coach, Skip Peete, as another reason why Dallas could take a look at the former consensus All-American from the University of Memphis.

“Henderson would upgrade the Cowboys’ depth behind Pollard and Elliott, which isn’t a bad thing to think about for a team that has Super Bowl hopes,” says Ulrich. “There’s a good amount of familiarity to lean on too; Henderson played with Pollard at Memphis and his position coach his rookie year, Skip Peete, is Dallas’ current RB coach.”


Henderson Played Vital Role in Rams’ Offensive Attack

The 25-year-old Henderson started 28 of his 50 career appearances with the Rams, even starting seven games this season. However, Henderson’s playing time saw a major dip in the team’s most recent game versus the Saints as he saw just four snaps for the game. By comparison, Cam Akers and rookie Kyren Williams saw action on 94 percent of the offensive snaps.

The fourth-year Henderson has always been an effective runner, having run for 4.4 yards per carry over the course of his career. While splitting carries with Akers in 2020 and Sony Michel during the 2021 season, Henderson ran for over 600 yards and five touchdowns in each of those years.

According to Pro Football Focus, Henderson posted an 80.4 offensive grade during the 2020 season and a 68.7 offensive grade during the 2021 season. The former All-American running back actually ranked 15th among all running backs (with at least 100 snaps) in offensive grade during the 2020 season and 36th in offensive grade during the 2021 season.


Why Cowboys Could Use Henderson as Third Back

The question is, do the Cowboys really have a desire to add Henderson?

While it is true Elliott may have durability issues as he plays out his seventh season, he did look fine in the team’s 40-3 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings, rushing for two touchdowns in the process. However, he ran for just 2.8 yards per carry on 15 rushing attempts.

Meanwhile, Dallas’ backup running back, Malik Davis, hasn’t exactly lit it up with just 74 yards on 20 carries (3.7 yards per carry) in five games.

At a record of 7-3, the Cowboys will be lower on the waiver priority order compared to teams with lesser records.  But considering Henderson is owed about $436,718 for the remainder of the season, Dallas should at least make an attempt at claiming the former starting running back.

 

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