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Towson’s Terrance West rushed for 2,509 yards and 42 touchdowns, both FCS records

Dallas Cowboys 2013 Draft Needs: Running Backs

With DeMarco Murray a question mark for 2015 a mid round selection of a running back is a possibility

By Matthew Postins

PostinsPostcards.com

RattleandHumSports.com is breaking down the draft needs at every position group for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. Today it’s the running backs.

Running backs: DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, Joseph Randle; Fullback: Tyler Clutts.

Cowboys running backs entering free agency: Tanner (restricted).

Draft need?: 4 (out of 10, 10 being most pressing).

Dallas Cowboys

Antonio Andrews led the nation in all-purpose yardage in consecutive seasons and rushed for 1,730 yards and 16 scores in 2013

Why: Tanner is the only back not under contract for 2014, but as a restricted free agency he is unlikely to get a contract offer. The only way he won’t be back is if the Cowboys decide not to pursue him at all, which is a possibility. The pressure point is the fact that Murray is only under contract for one more year. An extension for Murray seems unlikely, and logically if Murray is not with Dallas in 2015 Randle would appear to be his successor. That said, we live in an era in which teams use multiple backs in a season and you can never have enough. But don’t expect the Cowboys to spend a high pick on one.

Possible targets:

Terrance West, Towson: It’s rare that a FCS player comes out after his junior year. But West has rare talent and rare numbers at any level. In three years with Towson West rushed for 4,849 yards and 86 touchdowns. Last year West rushed for 2,509 yards and 42 touchdowns, both FCS records. He’s not a burner of a back, but he’s tough, runs between the tackles and picks up yards by the bushel. Scouts will pick on his 4.5 40 speed and the fact that he could have stayed in college one more year. He projects as a third- or fourth-round pick.

Dallas Cowboys

Marion Grice scored 22 total touchdowns for Arizona State last season

Marion Grice, Arizona State: Texas-born and bred, Grice is a multi-faceted back who can rush, catch passes and return kicks. He did all three for Arizona State in 2013 and was one of the nation’s best all-purpose players. He also scored 22 total touchdowns. Scouts love his burst and acceleration out of the backfield. At 207 pounds, they’re concerned about his frame. He projects as a fourth- or fifth-round pick right now.

Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky: You’re going to hear a lot about Andrews this scouting season. At just 5-foot-10, Andrews is an all-purpose back with the ability to be a bell cow back, thanks to his 225-pound frame. At WKU he rewrote the rushing record book and was the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. He led the nation in all-purpose yardage in consecutive seasons and rushed for 1,730 yards and 16 scores in 2013. Whoever gets him will get a potential gem. He’s valued as a sixth-round pick at the moment.

Looking ahead: It wouldn’t surprise us to see the Cowboys not take a running back in this draft at all, given the contract status of the backs on the roster. But with Murray’s impending free agency, the Cowboys could consider adding a back in the late rounds to solidify the position in 2015. It’s hard to see the Cowboys drafting a back that will make a significant impact in 2014.

Next up: Running backs.

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