Dallas Cowboys: Running backs who made a splash at the combine


The Dallas Cowboys should draft a running back at some point during the 2018 NFL draft. Here are some combine standouts Dallas could look to select.

The Dallas Cowboys will be drafting a running back during the 2018 NFL draft, we just are not sure exactly when. While we can certainly assume it will not be in the first or second round there are a lot of talented backs in this draft class that can help out the football team.

Finding a complement to starting running back, Ezekiel Elliott has to be one of the offseasons top priorities. With that in mind let’s take a look at some of the backs who really made an impact during the first day of the 2018 NFL Combine.

Sanquon Barkley (Penn State)

4.41 40 Yard Dash/29 Bench Press Reps/41.0 Vertical/N/A Broad Jump

Barkley was the most impressive player on day one of the combine. He may end up as the most impressive draft prospect overall. He ran one of the faster 40 times in recent memory and had more bench press reps than offensive lineman Joe Thomas.

He had a higher vertical jump than Julio Jones and immediately projects to be the number one running back in this draft. He has done enough to secure his place at the top of this draft and the Cleveland Browns would have to be crazy to not select him with the first overall pick.

Let’s not forget Cleveland also has two picks early in the first round so they could potentially go quarterback or defensive end with their second pick. If not the Browns, the New York Giants would certainly be happy selecting the talented back.

Nyheim Hines (N.C. State)

4.38 40 Yard Dash/Bench Press N/A/35.5 Vertical/119.0 Broad Jump

Hines is easily my favorite back in this draft class. He is an all-purpose back who can catch the football just as well as he can run with it. He was also the primary kick returner at N.C. State so he has the type of position flex the Dallas Cowboys love with their running backs.

He could help Ryan Switzer by returning some kicks and would be a legit change of pace back for the Dallas Cowboys offense. Elliott would predominantly carry the offense with his power style of running and Hines could play more of an Alvin Kamara-type of role. He would be one of the players that I would identify as “Dak friendly” as he can be a target coming out of the backfield and boasts tremendous speed.

It is also interesting that the Cowboys have already met with Hines and that alone should make him a target for the team as they approach the mid-rounds of the draft. The Cowboys should be able to find him in the third/fourth round but his combine performance could provide a boost to his draft stock. 

Rashaad Penny (San Diego State)

4.46 40 Yard Dash/13 Bench Press Reps/32.5 Vertical/120.0 Broad Jump:

Here is another player who I absolutely adore for the Dallas Cowboys. Penny has shown his speed as he was only .5 behind the number one overall back, Sanquon Barkley in the 40. The Cowboys can also go back and watch his tape from the Senior Bowl as he had a magnificent game. He caught a 75-yard touchdown bomb down the middle of the field and was a handful to deal with.

He looked more than ready to take on NFL defenders and had some extra star power to him. His 13 bench press reps are not going to impress anyone but it is his playmaking ability that sets him apart.  He can catch the football but is more effective on the ground. Penny is a good back so it would not be surprising to see him get selected on day two.

Bo Scarbrough (Alabama)

4.52 40 Yard Dash/14 Bench Press Reps/40 Vertical/129.0 Broad Jump:

Scarbrough may not be what the Dallas Cowboys are looking for as he is pretty much a power back. What intrigued me though was his ability to jump as his vertical is absolutely ridiculous. I thought he would be much stiffer and have less pop in his legs but he proved that notion wrong today. 

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Sure he is a bit slower than the other players on this list but he runs with power and aggression. If he improves on his pass blocking he could become a special back in the NFL. If the Cowboys selected him they could have a  two-headed monster in the backfield.

Kalen Ballage (Arizona State)

4.46 40 Yard Dash/15 Bench Press Reps/33.5 Vertical/122.0 Broad Jump:

This guy will be the biggest sleeper running back in the draft hands down. Ballage has scored eight touchdowns in a single game, there is something about him that is incredibly special. Like Hines, Ballage is also a kick returner who has gotten into the end zone plenty of times. 

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He never had a 1,000-yard season with Arizona State predominantly because he split carries. He has been said to be an indecisive runner and has a trouble with his vision on the field however he has pretty decent hands for catching the football. He also has some familiarity with lining up as a wide receiver. He is the type of gem the Dallas Cowboys could score late in the draft with.