(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Washington's Bishop Sankey.)
Honors:Sankey holds the career rushing touchdowns mark at Washington with 37, despite playing only three years.* *He was one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award. Sankey finished first at the NFL Combine in the three-cone drill (6.75 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (four seconds) among running backs, while finishing in the top five in his position group in bench press (26 reps) and broad jump (126 inches).
Key stat:He was a first-team All-Pac-12 running back who set the school record for rushing yards in a single season last year with 1,870, surpassing Corey Dillon's mark while rushing for at least one touchdown every game during the season. He ended the regular season ranked first in the Pac-12 and second in the nation with 1,775 rushing yards.
Where He's Projected: Most project the 5-9 running back to go somewhere around the third round, but his strong NFL Combine mixed with his tremendous production at Washington could very well intrigue a team enough to select him earlier. With his 4.49 40-yard dash speed and 26 reps on the bench, he has the speed, strength and tools to make for an interesting prospect.
How He Helps the Cowboys:The Cowboys may want to start thinking about the future at this position. DeMarco Murray's contract is up at the end of the 2014 season, and fifth-round pick Joseph Randle averaged three yards per carry on 54 rushes last year in limited action. Randle got a brief look at what he could do as the starter in Murray's absence in 2013, and the Cowboys have to determine if he's a long-term option as the starter. Lance Dunbar has the burst and quickness to contribute, but many see him as a complement back. The starting job is all Murray's this year, but Sankey could immediately compete for reps and ultimately earn the job for the future.
Bryan Broaddus – Sankey might not have the ideal measurables when you think about the best running backs that play in the NFL, but there is no mistaking the way he plays. At 5-9, 209 pounds, Sankey can be a load to deal with. He plays with some really good initial quickness with the ball in his hands. Most of his snaps are in a read-option attack that will also use him as a "Wildcat" quarterback. He'll take a jab step, then go. He's the type of back that is going to keep coming after a defense.
He's a down-and-dirty type of player that is always fighting for extra yards. His legs are working at impact and can bounce off tacklers if they don't wrap him up. He runs hard and with a purpose. You see him finish runs and showed the ability to use his vision, pick and slide, then burst. Sankey knows how to take the ball to the backside and has the quickness to get the ball around the corner. [embedded_ad]
It didn't appear that he had that second gear, then he ripped off a 60-yard run against Oregon State running away from folks. He'll make cuts that gets him in the open field. He's got tremendous balance, so it's hard to knock him off his feet. Sankey with his pads down and doesn't give the tacklers much of a hitting surface. He surprises tacklers with his power.
His hands appear to be solid. He'll catch the ball in the flat on screens or check down routes underneath. I didn't see any struggle here or double-catching of the ball. He was secure with the ball but did have one fumble against UCLA in the open field where the tackler put his helmet right on the ball and it popped out. If he has a trait that's a weakness, it's his height as a pass blocker. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there and deliver a blow but his lack of height affects his ability to secure his assignment. Some of his best work is when he cut blocks the rusher, but that is hard to get away with in this league. He'll need to learn how to handle rushers with better technique but is not afraid. Super productive player on tape and a pleasure to study. Never believe he'll grow taller, but I have to give him his due and feel like he would be a very nice consideration late in the second or early third.