A closer look at the areas the Cowboys could address in the draft. We'll continue Wednesday with a look at running backs, who are scheduled to work out Saturday in Indianapolis.
Position of need: Running back. If DeMarco Murray re-signs, then this will not be a position of need, but there is no guarantee the NFL’s leading rusher will return in 2015. Joseph Randle's off-field troubles are worrisome but it’s not like the Cowboys would give him Murray’s 392 carries as the lead back in 2015. They would need more help. While there has not been a running back drafted in the first round in the last two years, the Cowboys could be in the landing zone for some of the top runners in the draft.
Three players the Cowboys could target:
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. His running style certainly fits with what the Cowboys want to do on the ground. He ran for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014 and briefly held the record for most yards in in FBS history with 408 against Nebraska. He needs to work on his overall game, but teams will be taking him for his ability to run first and he can see it and hit it at a moment’s notice.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State. Murray fumbled too much last year for the Cowboys’ liking, and Ajayi, a Plano, Texas, native, lost seven in his career. But he has the ability to break the long run at any time while also doing a decent enough job at the dirty runs. He set the school record with 1,823 yards and 347 carries and also scored 28 touchdowns. But he is limited as a pass protector and that counts a lot in the Cowboys’ system for runners. The Cowboys have had a pretty good run with Boise State players in Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. The biggest thing for Gurley at the combine will be the medical checkup. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in November after being suspended for four games for receiving improper benefits. In six games he still ran for 911 yards. Maybe teams will be leery of picking him too early because of the knee, but the Cowboys have taken these sorts of risks early in drafts if they feel comfortable with a player's rehab.