How Does Mike Weber Win A Backup Job?

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(Editor’s Note: Now that offseason practices are in full swing, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we’re featuring running back Mike Weber.)

How He Got Here: The writing was on the wall for Weber for weeks before the 2019 NFL Draft. The Ohio State standout was one of the Cowboys’ 30 pre-draft visitors, as the organization did its due diligence on potential backups for Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys had a third-round grade on Weber, but they lucked out by managing to draft him all the way in the seventh round. The 21-year-old joins Tony Pollard as one of two rookie running backs looking to find a roster spot behind Elliott.

Bet You Didn’t Know: In the storied history of Ohio State running backs, Weber became just the third freshman in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, joining Robert Smith and Maurice Clarett. It’s not exactly a surprise that he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year back in 2016.

Quotable: “He can do all three downs, as well. That’s the type of back we want to draft. We want to draft three-down guys, we don’t want to draft guys that can only play on first and second down. We want three-down guys that can protect the ball, protect the quarterback and play well in the running game.” – running backs coach Gary Brown

Bryan Broaddus’ Take: Weber had success playing big time college football at Ohio State. He got off to a rough start with a knee injury during rookie minicamp, but he has bounced back with some nice work. He is learning what it takes to be a pro and how to prepare to play like one. That transition can be tough for these young players, but he appears to be heading on the right track. He was initially working behind his rookie counterpart, Tony Pollard, during practices but has since found himself alternating with Pollard for snaps. Weber has shown the ability to be explosive to and through the hole. How well he’s able to understand his role in pass protection and his ability to finish will dictate whether he makes the roster or finds himself on the practice squad.

Role/Roster Chances: The depth chart is wide open for Weber. Elliott is the obvious starter, and Jamize Olawale looks like a lock to be this team’s fullback. But the Cowboys are clearly trying to upgrade the production from their backups. Pollard was a higher draft pick than Weber, but he’s a different sort of back. This team wants a guy with a similar, well-rounded game to Elliott, in case the All-Pro needs to be spelled for some reason. He’s going to have to fend off veterans like Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn, but Weber has the skill set to be that guy.

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