Unlike Hill and McGovern, the grading book on Tony Pollard isn’t quite closed yet. Of course, we will give him a grade, but it’s exciting to think he could improve the grade we’ll be giving him today as he takes over as the lead back for the Dallas Cowboys following Zeke Elliott’s departure.
A forth round pick out of Memphis, things didn’t quite go Tony Pollard’s way his rookie season. The team was still leaning quite heavily on Elliott who by all means had a wonderful season with nearly 1,800 scrimmage yards and 14 TDs. Pollard contributed with 562 total yards and three scores. A solid rookie season for a mid round pick, but it’s also when the whispers began to creep that perhaps Pollard should share more of the work load.
The following season was the forgettable 2020 campaign. However, those whispers grew louder when Pollard got the start in place of a banged up Elliott against San Francisco. Pollard totaled 132 yards with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown. From then on, everyone wanted more Pollard and when 2021 rolled around they’d get…well, ever so slightly more.
2021 would be the season everyone knew the Joneses and Cowboys coaching staff were making a mistake with their usage of Pollard and Zeke. At this point, there was really no longer any excuse for Zeke getting 115 more touches than Tony, yet Pollard had a mere 233 fewer scrimmage yards than Elliott for the season.
Pollard was dominating Zeke in every matric. He was the more explosive and more efficient player. However, the team was slow to react for reasons you can discuss at the water cooler. The team would find more balance between the two in 2022.
Pollard still ended up with 12 fewer touches on the 2022 season, but accumulated 400 more yards than Zeke. The roles had changed. Pollard had become a home run hitter the staff couldn’t turn a blind eye to. Pollard racked up 1,000+ rushing yards and was named to his first Pro Bowl.
After an injury ended his season in the Cowboys playoff loss to the 49ers, the team signed him to the one year franchise tag. It’s possible 2023 could be his final season in Dallas, but no matter, being a forth round pick it feels his grade could only go up.