(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Auburn running back Tre Mason).
Name: Tre Mason
Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 5-8 / 207
Honors: Mason became a Heisman Trophy finalist after his 304-yard rushing performance in the SEC Championship game against Missouri, which earned him MVP honors for that game. Mason finished sixth in the final Heisman voting, just behind Johnny Manziel. Mason was the 2013 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-American by The Associated Press.
Key stat: Mason rushed for 195 yards in the BCS national championship game against Florida State. That pushed his season total to 1,816 yards, breaking Auburn’s school record, previously held by Bo Jackson, who had 1,786 yards in 1985.
Where He’s Projected: Mason is more of a second-round pick but considering the lack of depth in this year’s running back class, it’s possible for one of the backs to sneak into the first round. Mason has a lot of upside because he’s only 20 years of age and has already shown how productive he can be. Performing at the highest level, not only in the SEC, but in the SEC West where six of seven teams made a bowl game last year.
How He Helps the Cowboys: While the Cowboys don’t necessarily covet a running back right now, they’re never opposed to taking value. And with DeMarco Murray in the final year of his contract, who knows just what direction the Cowboys will take at this position. There are a lot of question marks about this position – Can Murray stay healthy and show last year was the rule and not the exception? Can Lance Dunbar get back from knee injury and become a consistent threat? And what about Joseph Randle and his progression as a second-year back? The Cowboys have their own question marks but if a player like Mason falls just right to them, they won’t be in a position not to take him. Scout’s Take
: Is a junior that is coming into the draft early. Doesn’t have the idea height, but he has a powerful lower body. When he gets the chance to carry the ball in this read-option attack, he can do it with some power. He is a hard guy for the defenders to get a shot on because of his size and his running style. Runs with his pads low and is interested in finishing his runs. If you try and arm tackle this guy, he is going right through them. Attacks the line of scrimmage-takes the ball and is heading for the hole. Quick feet. He shows vision in setting up blocks while on the move rather than attempting to make defenders miss with agility. Enough juice to go the distance but is a one-speed runner who lacks an elite second gear to pull away. Has shown good hands as a return man, but not used prominently as a receiver in Auburn's scheme. Combine drills showed that he can comfortably catch the ball. Height limits how effective he can be as a pass blocker, but when he had the opportunity, he was square and stuck his nose in there. Technique was good. Had a career game against Missouri in the SEC Championship Game but was more impressed with his effort in the National Championship Game against Florida State where he took some big hits and did not wilt under the pressure or the physical nature of the game. Is a steady, grinding type of back that has a nose for the end zone. Doesn’t have great speed but appreciate his toughness and willingness to finish runs. Of these running backs in the draft, that lack height like Bishop Sankey and Devonta Freeman, he appears to be the most complete. - Bryan Broaddus