Cowboys Find Ezekiel Elliott Replacement in 2025 NFL Mock Draft

Drafting an Ohio State running back in the first round worked out once for Dallas, so why not try again?
Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans
Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys desperately need a running back to give some balance to its offense, and that could come in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Teams typically shy away from drafting running backs in the first round these days. But it worked out wonderfully for the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott, so why not try to strike gold twice with another Ohio State running back?

ESPN's Matt Miller has Dallas using its first-round selection on Buckeyes running back Quinshon Judkins next year – a huge upgrade over their current backfield situation.

Cowboys Take Quinshon Judkins in Early 2025 Mock Draft

It’s a bit stunning to see a player, who is expected to split carries with TreVeyeon Henderson be drafted this early, but Judkins is worth it.

He starred as the RB1 at Ole Miss over the past two seasons – racking up wildly impressive numbers – before transferring to Ohio State this offseason. 

"We're back to running backs in the first round!? Judkins has elite talent, and Dallas ignored the position throughout this offseason beyond a reunion with 29-year-old Ezekiel Elliott. Judkins rushed for 2,725 yards and scored 31 rushing touchdowns over two seasons with Ole Miss before transferring to Ohio State. He will share carries with TreVeyon Henderson there, but the new Buckeye has Heisman-level talent and the burst and balance to be a great NFL running back."

Matt Miller, ESPN

He’s been a bell-cow back, rushing 545 times the past two seasons for 2,725 yards (5.0 yards per rush) and 31 touchdowns. 

Though he hasn’t been much of a factor in the receiving game (37 recs for 281 yards and 3 TDs), he might not need to be if he can keep up those rushing numbers.

He was ranked as the No. 3 running back in the Big Ten entering this season by Wolverine Digest (behind Henderson and Michigan running back Donovan Edwards).

ESPN has Dallas projected as the only team to draft a running back in the first round of next year’s draft, which could put them in a great spot.

If Judkins doesn’t live up to expectations this season – or someone else outshines him – the Cowboys will likely have limited competition for taking the first running back of the draft.

It is worth noting that this draft projection has Dallas picking No. 27 overall, which means ESPN thinks the Cowboys could have a great season, and it could allow an RB to be drafted before that spot.

Make sure you watch Ohio State this season as either Henderson or Judkins could wind up being the RB1 of the future in Dallas.

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