Dallas Cowboys: How RB Bo Scarbrough fits the Cowboys

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Bo Scarbrough #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers in the first half of the AllState Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Bo Scarbrough #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers in the first half of the AllState Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys rookie running back, Bo Scarbrough, has everyone excited these days, so what type of role can we expect from the seventh rounder this season?

Since breaking off an impressive 32-yard run in the Dallas Cowboys first preseason game of the season, Cowboys Nation is abuzz with talk of Bo Scarbrough. And why not, right?

At 6’1” 228lbs, Scarbrough is an intimidating presence in the backfield. Resembling his former oversized teammate, Derrick Henry, Scarbrough is type of battering ram that wears down an opponent. Players his size aren’t supposed to be that explosive and nimble. It’s just not fair to the rest of us.

But here he is. Considered a seventh round steal by many draftniks, Dallas Cowboys fan were eager to see what they had in their rookie running back. And they didn’t have to wait for long…

Against the 49ers, Bo Scarbrough broke off an impressive 32-yard run that showed off his full arsenal: First it was the vision. Then it was his one-cut ability. There was the broken tackle, of course. Throw in a touch of illusiveness and dash of speed on the breakaway, and you have all the ingredients that made him a top prospect for Alabama a few years back.

As many of know, injuries and an inconsistent workload got in the way of Bo ever living up to his lofty recruitment status. But that’s all in the past. Behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Bo may finally have a chance to show the world what he’s got. Today we look at that and decide what role he could serve on the Dallas Cowboys this season

RB2 vs RB3

We all know Ezekiel Elliott is firmly entrenched at the top of the depth chart. But behind Zeke is the largely unproven Rod Smith. With only 57 career carries for 237 yards (4.2 RPC), he’s a bit of unrealized potential in his own right.

But last season the 26-year old flashed as the Dallas Cowboys RB3. He looked so good the Cowboys felt good giving him Alfred Morris’ backup job this season. Those familiar with the Cowboys have very little concerns about their expected RB2 heading into the season.

Rod Smith, 6’3” 235lbs, can run the ball, catch the ball, he can pass protect and he can play special teams. Outsiders may think Bo Scarbrough has a shot at seizing the RB2 role but those of us who have been following Rod’s development know he’s got the second spot fairly secure. This means even with a stellar preseason, RB3 is likely to be Bo Scarbrough’s ceiling this year.

Third Down Back

A niche many No. 3 running backs often fill is that of third down back. When the distance to a first down signal an obvious passing situation, teams will remove their traditional ball carrier and replace him with running back better skilled for the passing game.

But one of the primary reasons the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott No. 4 overall was his ability to effectively play every down and distance. Zeke is one of the best pass-protectors in the NFL so pulling him out in obvious passing situations seems absurd. Additionally, he’s proven to be a pretty nice weapon as a backfield receiver and we’ve been told he’s going to get more looks in this role this coming season. .

Bo Scarbrough hasn’t been known as a very good pass-protector or receiver out of the backfield. Sure, he could develop into one but it seems highly unlikely he’ll approach the level Zeke is at.

Change of Pace Back

Zeke, Rod, and Bo are all large, bruising backs. If there’s a change of pace option on this roster, it’s going to be “web back”, Tavon Austin. Even though the bulk of Austin’s carries are going to come on outside plays like the jet sweep.

Bo Scarbrough isn’t going to make the team to change the pace. If anything, he’s here to keep the pace. If something were to happen to Zeke, the Dallas Cowboys could theoretically keep things rolling with Rod Smith and Bo executing the same game plan.

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Short Yardage Back

Moving down this list it’s easy to see options will be limited for Bo Scarbrough on the Dallas Cowboys. Short yardage situations are where some in Cowboys Nation are eager to get Scarbrough involved. But that may prove to be the most reckless of all.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Zeke converted an impressive 86.7 percent of 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 situations last season. That was second in the NFL and the kind of success rate short-yardage specialists would kill for. Why exactly would you want to replace someone who’s absolutely great at something with someone who may just be good?

In fact, converting short-yardage may be one of the most unrated abilities of a running back. Not only does it sustain drives and ice games, but it very tangibly turns field goals into touchdowns on the goalline.


If anyone is expecting even a modest role for Bo Scarbrough this season, they’re likely to be disappointed. If everyone stays healthy there just won’t be opportunities for their RB3  – unless you’re counting special teams.

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And the reality of the roster is Bo Scarbrough isn’t even guaranteed a place on the final 53. With the depth the Cowboys have on the defensive line and receiver corps, they may need to go long at those respective spots and go short at other spots.

If Bo can stay healthy he looks to have bright future in the NFL, but to expect much of anything this season is probably misguided.

  • Published on 08/15/2018 at 22:00 PM
  • Last updated at 08/15/2018 at 11:04 AM