(Editor's Note: The staff of DallasCowboys.com is currently previewing the depth chart at each position on the Cowboys' roster. The biggest remaining variable in determining that depth chart is the NFL draft, which begins April 28. This series will identify five potential draft picks who could affect the depth chart at each position.)
IRVING, Texas – It's a bit unusual that so much time is spent discussing the Cowboys' running backs, given the current makeup of their depth chart.
After all, Darren McFadden is coming off a 1,089-yard season, and the front office just signed two-time Pro Bowler Alfred Morris to a two-year contract. It'd also be a mistake to forget about Lance Dunbar, who has re-signed with the club and is on the mend from a major knee injury.
Despite all of that, age and health are concerns enough with the current running backs that the draft is considered a legitimate priority. Cowboys officials have spoken several times about the future of the running back position, and the draft is littered with intriguing possibilities.
Starting at the top of the draft and going into the later rounds, here are five possible targets:
1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State –If you haven't heard the debate that centers around the Buckeye All-American yet, you haven't been paying attention. Elliott is the consensus top running back in the draft, as he possesses game-breaking abilities as a runner to go with above-average skills as a blocker and a receiver. He's guaranteed to be a first-round pick, and there's plenty of people who think the Cowboys should draft him No. 4 overall. It's hard to imagine anyone spending such a valuable pick on a running back in this day and age, but Elliott would be an instant difference-maker and a legitimate threat to be the Day 1 starter.
2. Derrick Henry, Alabama –Drop back a round, and you'll find another groundswell of support for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Henry doesn't have the same game-breaking ability as Elliott, but his 6-3, 238-pound frame would certainly do some damage running behind the Cowboys' talented offensive line. If Dallas wants Henry, it'd probably have to happen at No. 34 overall. But that's a fair price to pay for a workhorse who was capable of taking 395 carries in 2015.
3. Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech –The Cowboys just might know Dixon better than anyone else on this lost, considering they coached him for a week at the Senior Bowl back in January. The four-year starter is one of the best in college football history at finding the end zone, as he scored 87 total touchdowns at Louisiana Tech. He's not typically mentioned in the same breath as Elliott and Henry, but Dixon is widely-considered one of the top three or four running backs in this draft class. His 5-10, 215-pound frame gives cause for concern, but Dixon has the look of a well-rounded back who could be had in the second or third round of the draft.
4. C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame –It's a testament to Prosise's ability that he's garnering consideration as a mid-round draft pick despite just one season playing the position. He was recruited as a safety and spent the first two seasons of his career as a receiver before breaking off 1,029 yards on just 157 carries last fall. Of all the backs on this list, Prosise might have the most developing to do – he's got some question marks as a blocker. That's not a problem, as he could easily fit into the rotation behind McFadden and Morris with an eye on the future.
5. Kenyan Drake, Alabama –Derrick Henry had more carries in 2015 than Drake had in his entire four-year career, which helps explain why he's a bit of a forgotten man in this draft. His 4.45 40-yard draft and his explosive athleticism have bolstered his stock in the last few months, though, and there's no shortage of intrigue in Drake as a late-round find. His crucial kick return touchdown in last year's national title game, not to mention his 29 receptions in 2015 give an idea of his all-around ability – much in the same vein as Lance Dunbar. If the Cowboys aren't confident in Dunbar's long-term availability, Drake could make sense on Day 3 of the draft.