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No Running Back in the Draft? O-Line Just Fine with Current Group

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys' offensive line sticks together, on the field and off it.

Maybe that's one reason they've been so good – good enough that the organization didn't feel compelled to reach for a running back in the draft.

Together, members of the line helped host Sunday's "Taste of the NFL" charitable event at AT&T Stadium presented by Nationwide and benefiting the North Texas Food Bank. Also featuring Cowboys legends Charles Haley, Preston Pearson and Chad Hennings, the event has helped feed hungry children in North Texas for the past decade.

And together, the line will open holes for the Cowboys' running backs in 2015 – whichever combination it may be.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Cowboys' draft was what the club *didn't *do – specifically, choosing not to draft a running back to help replace the departed DeMarco Murray following his franchise-record 1,845 yard season.

On Sunday, Pro Bowler center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin echoed the front office's faith in the current running back depth chart: Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams and Lance Dunbar. McFadden, a seven-year veteran, has 1,038 career carries; the other three have a combined 243.

"I think it's probably a little bit of faith in us, but it's also faith in the guys we have in our running back stable now," Frederick said. "It's a really good group of guys. I'm really excited to watch them run, especially run together."

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team will be on the lookout for running back help in free agency throughout 2015.

But Frederick and Martin are excited about the current backs' early commitment to preparing for the season.

"It's exciting to go in fresh this season and learn how we're going to gel together," Martin said.

And yes, it does help to run behind a line with three Pro Bowlers (Frederick, Martin, Tyron Smith) and an overall cohesion beyond their years. The average age of the starting five – Frederick, Martin, Smith, Ronald Leary and Doug Free – is only 25.8.

Members of the line stood on stage Sunday night with other teammates, joining Abacus executive chef and proprietor Kent Rathbun and 20 of the area's prominent chefs for the 11th annual event. Fans enjoyed gourmet tailgate fare, signature cocktails, live music by The Rusty Brothers and a chance to bid on exclusive, luxury prizes at the live and silent auctions, all benefiting NTFB's child programs.  

This week the line gets back to work.

"They're an amazing group, and it's really understood that they do everything together," head coach Jason Garrett said. "They lift together, they run together, and literally they hang out together 24 hours a day. I really believe that helps us as a unit. It certainly helps us as a football team."


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