Cowboys Urged to Add Running Back Who Forced 145 Missed Tackles


Getty Images The Cowboys could look to upgrade the backfield during the NFL Draft.

The Dallas Cowboys‘ handling of the backfield has been one of the more puzzling aspects of what has been a quiet offseason for the organization as free agency rounds into its second wave and the 2024 NFL Draft nears.

After allowing Tony Pollard to walk via free agency, and sign with the Tennessee Titans, the Cowboys never reached out to former rushing champion Derrick Henry, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens, and missed out on the likes of Aaron Jones and Josh Jacobs at the top of the market.

As the draft nears, Pro Football Focus believes the Cowboys should target Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen, on day three of draft weekend.

“Allen’s size and power made him tough to bring down in college,” Gordon McGuinness writes for PFF. “He averaged 3.66 yards after contact per carry and forced 145 missed tackles on 596 carries over the past three seasons. He’s just 20 years old, which is in his favor despite his taking on a heavy workload in college.”

A between-the-tackles bruiser such as Allen could be a productive piece to the Cowboys’ backfield puzzle, which currently only includes Rocky Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis, and Snoop Conner.

Braelon Allen NFL Draft Scouting Report

The Cowboys’ offense could use a chain-mover out of the backfield, especially in the form of a back such as Allen who proved capable of thriving in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

During his career in Madison, Allen produced 2,182 yards after contact, which could prove to be an asset for any Cowboys running back who will be tasked with running behind an offensive line that will be breaking in at least two new starters in 2024.

“Allen has rare size on an imposing frame,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein writes of Allen. “And his production is nothing to scoff at. Evaluators will need to rely more heavily on his 2022 tape, where he ran with better decisiveness and instincts in a pro-style running attack.

“He’s built to be a banger but needs to embrace a consistently physical style, as he lacks the footwork and hips to elude defenders with finesse.”

At 6-foot-2 and 328 pounds, Allen rushed for 3,494 yards with 35 touchdowns across 35 games as a focal point of the Badgers’ ground game.

Cowboys’ NFL Draft Philosophy Revealed

Given that the Cowboys lost more than they have gained during free agency, there is added pressure on this year’s draft class not only to fill key voids but also to play at a high level, immediately.

Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Will McClay tells ESPN that he has a clear mandate for the scouts he sends out into the field to scour the nation for Dallas’ next crop of incoming rookies.

“I tell our area guys that I want them to be the GM of their areas,” McClay tells ESPN’s Todd Archer.

McClay says philosophically, the Cowboys take great measures to avoid groupthink during the evaluation process. Likewise, the organization believes building through the draft is how sustained success is achieved, which could explain how free agency has played out in Dallas this offseason.

“When we talk about playing time or production of young guys, they are young guys, but the other part is when you have a team that’s won 12 games and is a good team, it’s harder for young guys to get playing time,” McClay said. “If you’ve got your team that way, there’s [good] people in front of them.

“It’s the leap from the first to the second year that’s most paramount. You want all your draft picks to contribute, but that’s not the way it works all the time.”

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