Several lists have appeared for the top running back duos in the NFL, none of them feature the Dallas Cowboys, right or wrong here’s why.
First, looking at the lists that both Bucky Brooks of NFL.com (here) and Bryant McFadden of CBSSports (here). The consensus is that the New Orleans Saints have the best running back duo in the league, and neither list had the Dallas Cowboys on it. A lot of Cowboys fans are chiming in about the Ezekiel Elliott and Bo Scarbrough duo, but for some reason leaving out Rod Smith. Either way, here are some reasons why they didn’t make the top five.
Who is the Duo
The one name we know for sure that would be part of the duo is Ezekiel Elliott. When on the field Elliott is one of the best running backs in the league without argument. He has the vision, speed, power, and blocking to not only be a weapon but also fill a role if his number isn’t called on a play. He can really do it all.
After Elliott, Rod Smith has been the number two running back. Once Elliott was suspended last season Smith carried the load quite well and impressed a lot of people. Smith has work to do with his game and is not the home run threat that Elliott is. However, Smith is a viable running back and has a fairly complete game.
Recently drafted Bo Scarbrough is a little of Elliott and a little of Smith, with a splash of Marion Barber. Basically, Scarbrough isn’t going to take on to the house on many plays, but he will grind out extra yards with a physical nature, decent vision, good receiving, and good blocking. But, he is a rookie and has not shown what he really can do at the NFL level yet.
That would mean the smart names will be Elliott and Smith as of right now. While Elliott puts fear into teams, he has only one complete season and has had some off-field issues. Remember, the best ability is availability. Smith is good, but not good enough to help the duo get into the top five.
As previously stated Elliott has had some off-field issues which kept him on the sidelines in 2017. While there is no denying his talent, if you can’t stay on the field for whatever reason, you have to prove you can before you can call yourself the best. He has all the talent, the absolute ability to be the best running back in the NFL, and is going to get better.
Bo Scarbrough also has some availability concerns. He broke his leg in the National Championship game and while he may heal just fine, injuries in football have a way of haunting players. Since we haven’t seen Scarbrough play yet, we can’t say this will be the case, but looking at the best duos in the league it has to be considered a part of the whole story.
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Only Smith has shown to availability, but if Elliott is out, the duo of Smith and Scarbrough are not a top-five duo. Smith is a good player, but to put him as a top running back, one has to pause. Elliott and Smith could, in fact, be a top duo, but we have yet to really see what these two are together for a full season.
All of these things is not to say the three-headed monster of Elliott, Smith, and Scarbrough won’t be at the top of the rankings come 2019. This is about going into the 2018 season. Looking at the last two seasons and the fact Scarbrough is a rookie, we would be hard-pressed to find anyone to place them right now as a top of running back committee.
If Elliott can stay on the field and be the player he has been when he has played, with Smith taking a bigger role now that Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris are gone, and Scarbrough playing like many believe he can, this will be a top running back unit. It shouldn’t be a surprise however for 2018. The Dallas Cowboys will be a run-heavy team, they prove it this year, you can’t keep them off the list next year.
Looking forward to 2018 there are possibilities with this committee for the Dallas Cowboys. If Elliott can run for over 1500 yards, Smith can spell Elliott and get over 500, and Scarbrough is the short yardage and goal line threat we think he can be, this will be a scary force for any defense to face. Right now, we know what they can be, now they just have to prove it.