Dallas Cowboys Draft: Meet Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Dallas Cowboys continue to look at this running back class, it seems unfair that I have not mentioned Zach Charbonnet from UCLA. I’ll throw out the disclaimer early – this isn’t the sexiest pick. Picking Charbonnet is more likely to be the responsible choice if you are picking a running back.

Most Big-Ten fans or Michigan fans will know this player really well. He started his career in Ann Arbor before jumping ship to UCLA. He lost his job to Hassan Haskins of the Tennessee Titans and wanted to be a featured back again. He was all of that and some for UCLA in his final two seasons. Just in his senior season, he gave the Bruins 1359 rushing yards and gained 7.0 per rush attempt. The yards per attempt is what excites me.

The Dallas Cowboys would do themselves a huge favor by being patience in the draft and getting their hands on an all-purpose type back.

I mentioned him not being the “sexiest” pick. In comparison to Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs, he is going to be third fiddle in this draft but don’t be shocked if he has the more productive rookie season. This prospect is tailored made for the NFL. He has the size that fits the Dallas Cowboys profile almost perfectly. He lines up at 6’0″ and weighs 214 pounds. He can easily project as every down runner and at the very least the early down running back.

He is a tough runner to take down. Let me repeat that. He is a tough runner to take down. According to PFF, he had a total of 53 broken tackles. Combining him with Tony Pollard would give you a 1-2 punch at least thru the next season. I know the team has Ronald Jones and some fans are excited about that pickup (tongue in cheek) but this draft pick is for the 2023-2024 season and beyond that. There’s no guarantee either TP20 or Jones will be a part of the team after next season so adding a running back that is good in multiple areas should be in consideration.

In the combine, he didn’t lose any steam. He ran a 4.53 in the 40yard dash with a 1.54 10-yard split. Equally impressive was his 10’2″ broad jump. That’s a good enough athlete to be just fine in the NFL. He showed at the combine and in his time at UCLA that he can help in the passing game. He was able to haul in 60 receptions in two years. Additionally, he has the frame to be able to stand up strong in pass protection. There’s not many running backs you can say that about in this draft.

How would Zach Charbonnet help the Dallas Cowboys in 2023? Dallas would more than likely need to consider him at the 58th pick or if they’re lucky the 90th draft pick. With that, the team wouldn’t be investing a ton of money into a rookie contract so the hope for Dallas would be that he can beat Ronald Jones out in his rookie season.

As fate would have it our friends at Drafttek have Zach falling to the Dallas Cowboys in the third round. If that were to happen, Cowboy fans should jump for joy. You have a potential starting running back for at least the next four seasons and a potential fifth on a franchise tag. That’s a win every day of the week and twice on Sundays.