• Home
  • NCAA
  • Is Tony Pollard’s Replacement in the Draft

Category: Dallas Cowboys

Share & Comment:

Is Tony Pollard’s Replacement in the Draft

Tony Pollard signed with the Tennessee Titans this offseason and leaves a void behind Dak Prescott at the running back position. Everyone says running backs grow on trees in the NFL Draft. Is that true? Can the Cowboys find a quality starting running back in this year’s draft?

Expectations were high for Pollard after a career year in 2022. Pollard exploded for a career-high 1,007 yards and 9 touchdowns as Ezekiel Elliott’s backup. Pollard quickly proved he was more than a backup, becoming an explosive playmaker to complete a 1-2 punch.

Pollard’s year in 2022 caught the eyes of fantasy football owners and had everyone convinced it would be best to move on from Ezekiel Elliott and let Pollard become the main back in Dallas.

Pollard struggled to bounce back from a broken leg suffered in the Cowboys’ 2022 postseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Whether it was getting his feet underneath him after the injury, or taking nearly 60 more snaps than the year prior, Pollard had a down year with 1,005 rushing yards and only 6 touchdowns. Pollard as the starter didn’t have the same effectiveness as when he was paired with Elliott in the backfield.

The Cowboys were content letting Pollard leave for Tennessee this offseason, but it resulted in yet another starting position to fill in this year’s draft. Rico Dowdle is back for 2024, but he hasn’t had the best luck staying healthy and Dallas shouldn’t be dependent on Dowdle’s availability. Deuce Vaughan at 5’5” is the other running back, last year’s preseason sensation as a rookie, but his role is more Darren Sproles. Deuce is a fun name for the fans to chant, but he’s best used as a gadget player in the screen game. The Cowboys also signed Royce Freeman this offseason, but nobody expects Freeman to be the guy.

With that said, the Dallas Cowboys need a starting three-down running back. They aren’t drafting 4th overall like when they selected Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State in 2016. The Cowboys also have other needs to address, like the offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, and linebacker. So the Cowboys are likely hoping to strike gold on Day 2 or Day 3.

There have been good running backs drafted in the later rounds, including Pollard who was a 4th round selection in 2018.

Other notable running backs taken in Round 3 or later in recent years are De’Von Achane and Rachaad White (3rd), Kyren Williams (5th), and Isiah Pacheco (7th). So it is possible to find your starter at this stage of the Draft.

Who could be available at this stage and is worth a look from Will McClay and the Dallas Cowboys? Here are a few to keep their eye on:


Brooks is unanimously regarded as the best running back in this class. There aren’t a lot of weaknesses in his game. He’s credited for his ball vision, hitting the hole, and is likely the most pro-ready prospect at the position. However, he did tear his ACL late this past season. While this is unfortunate, significant knee injuries in college typically result in a shorter NFL career. No matter how talented you are, you can’t escape this truth. Just look at Todd Gurley.

I will add that the doctor who performed Jonathan’s surgery is Dr. Dan Cooper, the head team physician of the Cowboys. So if anyone knows the status of Brooks, it is the Dallas Cowboys.


Wisconsin is the same school to produce Jonathan Taylor. At 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, Allen is a big back who could help protect Dak Prescott in the pass-blocking game, and even provide value catching out of the backfield. He’s tough to get to the ground and averaged a rushing touchdown per game last year. Allen could be the guy.


I consider Estime the complete back. He found the endzone with 18 rushing touchdowns last year. Estime is a powerful runner with enough speed and determination to deliver the blow to defenders and knock them on their backs.


Guerendo was the third-fastest player at the NFL Combine. Normally speedy players don’t like to pass-block, but Guerendo isn’t afraid to chip defenders to give the quarterback extra time. He hasn’t had 1,000 rushing yards in a season for his college career, but the tools are there to translate to the pro level.


Q-U-I-C-K. Wright is quick! He had the second-fastest 40-yard dash time for running backs, behind Guerendo, and he could be the guy to change the complexion of a game. Wright on Dallas would be like having an extra wide receiver in the game, so he could replace Pollard and Gallup’s production. If you ask around Cowboys circles, most want Wright to go from the Volunteer Orange to the Cowboy Blue.

Alongside the draft, there are still options in the free agent market. Ezekiel Elliott remains an option and both sides are open to a reunion. Dalvin Cook remains a free agent as well. But both Elliott and Cook would play a vital role as the veteran back in game-altering situations, like 3rd and short. What Dallas needs is something Elliott nor Cook can provide at this stage of their careers, and that’s a starting three-down running back for the next several years. Hopefully, for the Cowboys and their fans, they can find that in this year’s NFL Draft.


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.