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Next Man Up: Dowdle only experienced RB for now


Like many teams around the league, the Cowboys sent a strong message in free agency. However, it wasn't in the form of adding a lot of players or keeping the majority of their own. What seems clear for the Cowboys is their willingness to give opportunities to younger players on the team.

This roster is loaded with players still on their rookie contracts that haven't had that breakout season just yet. Could it be this year? The Cowboys can only hope, especially considering they signed just one player (Eric Kendricks) in free agency and currently have just six picks in the NFL Draft later this month.

So the Cowboys have to lean on some of their previous drafts and free-agent signings to help fill out this roster.

Today, we'll continue the series with running back Rico Dowdle.

  • Name: Rico Dowdle
  • Position: Running Back
  • Experience: 5th Year
  • Games Played/Starts: 36 / 0
  • Years Left on Contract: 1
  • How Acquired: UDFA 2020 (South Carolina)
  • Key Stat: Dowdle led all Cowboys running backs last season with a 4.1 average per carry, just edging out starter Tony Pollard (4.0).

The Past: With just seven rushing attempts as a rookie in 2020, followed by two injury-riddled seasons that kept him off the field, Dowdle responded last season with a huge comeback. No, he wasn't the starter at tailback but he had a productive role in the offseason as the primary backup to Tony Pollard. We saw career-highs in every category for Dowdle, who had 89 rushing attempts for 361 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also caught two touchdown passes, joining only CeeDee Lamb as the only players on the team with multiple TDs on the ground and in the air.

The Present: As it currently stands, the Cowboys have just 156 combined rushing attempts with their running back room and Dowdle has 96 of them, with 89 occurring last season. Of course, the Cowboys will address the position in either the draft or with a veteran, or perhaps both. But none of them will have the head-start within this offense as Dowdle, who was also a free agent at the end of the season and decided to return on a 1-year deal. The Cowboys clearly wanted him in the fold and for Dowdle, this is probably the best spot considering the lack of depth currently on the roster.

The Future: This is tough to speculate at the moment with the draft still a few weeks away and the Cowboys still looking at potential veteran backs to add to the mix. But there was a reason they re-signed Dowdle to the team back in March. Just looking at his career so far, he had seven carries in three seasons and for many running backs, that would've been the end of it. But he's already cleared enough hurdles in his career to prove that he's a fighter. Mix in the fact that he's versatile as rusher and reciever and a willing blocker. He'll still probably have to compete with other backs that are signed and/or drafted, but that's nothing Dowdle hasn't done before.

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