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Mailbag: How Could Draft Affect RB Rotation? Instant Impact In Rounds 1-2?


I hear a lot about pass rushers and wide receivers taking the longest to adjust to the NFL game. Does the learning curve of different positions affect draft strategy, and what are some positions that typically take the least amount of time to impact the win/loss column? If the Romo window is closing, I would be looking for immediate impact in rounds 1-2 with an eye on the future thereafter.

Rob:I understand your thinking, and you're right about pass rushers needing a year or so to fully adjust to the competition level. I think you have to evaluate each player case by case and avoid generalization, though. Can't be afraid to draft a defensive lineman early if the value's there – it's too much of a need on this roster. For what it's worth, historically running back has been a more of an instant-impact position. Offensive line, too, even though Zack Martin's rookie season isn't the norm.

Bryan: Running back is a position where the learning curve isn't as steep. Cornerback is another position where young guys tend to come in and play right away. For the Cowboys, offensive line has been a nice position where they have had some success with plug and play players.


The Cowboys re-signed Lance Dunbar, have Darren McFadden another year and gave a multi-year deal to Morris. If they take Ezekiel Elliott at 4, doesn't that mean McFadden is the odd man out? Jerry Jones has yelled from the rooftops that McFadden is the starting running back. Why even consider Elliott if this is the case?

Rob: Well, you consider Elliott if you think he's the best player on the board when you're on the clock. That remains to be seen. I think we need to remember the 'Elliott at No. 4' buzz is mostly media-driven, though. Asked last month about possibly taking a running back that early, Jerry Jones indicated that might be too big a leap, saying it would be an "extraordinary decision." Now, a lot can change in a month. But it does speak to your question: the Cowboys have covered themselves at running back by signing Morris. There could be immediate opportunity for a rookie back, because Dunbar very well could start the season on PUP. But hypothetically, you wouldn't be drafting a running back at No. 4 to sit – that's for sure.

Bryan: I don't see them married to Darren McFadden and you also have to think about the injury to Dunbar. If he is going on Physically Unable to Perform then he is gone for six weeks. Elliott is just too talented a player not to be one of the top considerations in this draft regardless of the position.  

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