Over the next two weeks, DallasCowboys.com dives deeper into the talented group of undrafted rookies that will battle for a roster spot this offseason.
- Name: Rico Dowdle
- Position: Running Back
- School: South Carolina
- Height/Weight: 6-0/208lbs
- Awards & Recognition: NFL Combine invite, East-West Shrine Game participant, South Carolina's Tenacity Award - Offense
The Good: The Asheville, North Carolina native is a really fun watch on film with an apparent natural ability that fits the position. When Dowdle has the football in his hands, he looks like a professional running back. His balance, cuts and physicality are all prevalent when he is tabbed as a ball carrier. Dowdle runs well in a straight line with his 4.54 second 40-yard-dash and isn't afraid to take on a blocking assignment in a head-on collision. His vison and decision making are next level and he's quick to recover when he is knocked off his path or breaking a tackle.
The Project: Injuries are really the main concern for Dowdle, who had plenty during his collegiate career. He was just 78 carries into his 2019 season when he left the Gamecocks' matchup against Florida with a knee injury in October. Dowdle acquired just 41 yards on 28 total carries the rest of the season. Before the injury, the biggest holes of his game were his unpolished route running out of the backfield and his struggles holding onto the football (eight fumbles in first three seasons).
The Summary: Dowdle's career came to a close with less than 500 career attempts in four seasons for South Carolina, yet he still finished as a top-15 rusher in school history and tallied over 2,100 yards. It's going to be a big 'if' on whether or not Dowdle can stay healthy during his jump to the pros. However, if he can stay on the field, there is no reason he won't be fighting for a potential third running back slot or to be a priority piece for the practice squad. His quickness and balance will turn heads when drills begin and might up his chances to surpass other UDFA signings like Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua. At the moment though, his injury history and lack of film in college have Dowdle tabbed as an underdog to make the team and would need a fantastic summer to reverse his fortunes.
The Cowboys have a rich history in signing undrafted rookies from Drew Pearson to Tony Romo. Check out this year's group of 15 rookie free agents that have agreed to terms.