PHOENIX – If it wasn't clear before the NFL's annual meetings, it should be quite clear afterward – the Dallas Cowboys will give plenty of consideration to the running back position in next month's NFL draft.
Choose whichever voice sounds best, but three of the franchise's primary power players – owner/general manager Jerry Jones, executive vice president Stephen Jones or coach Jason Garrett – all voiced support for the idea in varying degrees.
The most recent of those was Jerry Jones, who concluded his Tuesday evening session with reporters by acknowledging that he expects many of this draft's top running backs – Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi and Ameer Abdullah – to visit the team's Valley Ranch facility in the coming weeks.
"I'd say the top backs – all those top backs," he said when asked about potential visitors.
That more or less corroborates what Stephen Jones said earlier Tuesday afternoon about the same position. Following the loss of DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia, the Cowboys signed Darren McFadden to give them four running backs on the active roster.
But that not fill out the competition, as they'll have to determine whether they have another feature back or a stable of ball carriers.
"We're sure open to looking at the draft and making that a very competitive situation," Stephen Jones said. "Whether we end up, next year, going down the road like we did with DeMarco is a question, or do you end up doing it – which a lot of people do well – by having several runners."
It would be an understatement to say the trio of Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams is inexperienced, and McFadden has struggled with injuries throughout a seven-year NFL career in Oakland. As has already been suggested, though, the Cowboys are hopeful a change of scenery could rejuvenate the Arkansas standout.
"When players play for teams that struggled while they were there, then there's a whole lot of cases that'll show you, especially a player as highly thought of as Darren McFadden was coming out of school, that they go to a second place, where things are going better – in our particular place, a hell of an offensive line – and they have success," Stephen Jones said.
Aside from McFadden, Jerry Jones said he's excited about what each of his three other running backs can bring to the table. As can be evidenced by the draft prospects who will soon be wandering his hallways, though, Jones said he won't hesitate to add another name to the competition in the draft.
"We've done a good job, in my mind, of being ready to play if we didn't do another thing at running back," he said. "But if that's where our opportunity is, we'll take it."