(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2020 NFL Draft isn't until April 23, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospects, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.)
- Name: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- Position: RB
- College: LSU
- Height/Weight: 5-7/209
- Honors: Unanimous first-team All-SEC
- Key Stat: Easily Edwards-Helaire's best trait is his ability to evade tacklers. He broke 70 tackles on just 214 carries last season, and he generated 55% of his yardage after contact.
Where He's Projected:
Edwards-Helaire is the perfect complement to the modern NFL offense, as he demonstrated for the national champions last year. In addition to rushing for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns, he essentially functioned a fifth receiver, catching 55 passes for 453 yards as Joe Burrow's safety net.
That skillset comes in a non-traditional package. Edwards-Helaire is obviously on the smaller side for any NFL player, let alone someone who carries the ball. He also posted a pedestrian 4.60 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He's not the caliber of athlete that typically gets taken at the top of the draft.
All of this makes his draft projection interesting. It's impossible to deny what he has shown on tape and all the different ways he could make himself useful to an offense. It's also hard to deny that he's not as naturally talented as some of the other running backs that will be selected at the top of the draft.
If the right team thinks he's a fit, it's not crazy to think Edwards-Helaire could see himself drafted in the first round. But it's much more realistic to think he's taken somewhere in the top 50 or 60 picks, hearing his name called at some point on Day 2 of the draft.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
It's easy to see how he'd help the Cowboys, but it's hard to justify the pick.
Edwards-Helaire would be a highly impactful backup for Ezekiel Elliott, a heck of a third down option because of his receiving abilities and a possible kick returner, given that he did that job for three years at LSU.
The problem is that this description perfectly fits Tony Pollard, who did all of those things at a high level as a rookie in 2019. Now, it's totally fair to argue about who is the better overall prospect – but what's the use of that? Pollard is already on the team, and adding such a similar player feels a bit redundant.
That's not a knock on Edwards-Helaire. He'll likely be a huge success wherever he winds up – even if it's somehow in Dallas. But considering the Cowboys would likely have to draft him with the No. 51 overall pick, it just doesn't seem cost effective.