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Cowboys Select Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray in Third Round | The DC Times

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Cowboys Select Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray in Third Round

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Jonathan Bales

After a somewhat questionable pick in the second round, the Cowboys continued the trend in the third round by selecting Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray.  Although I predicted the ‘Boys would grab a running back at some point during this draft, I figured it would come on day three.  While I do like Murray, the depth at the running back position made me believe Dallas would hold off on drafting one.  Players like Pitt’s Dion Lewis, Eastern Washington’s Taiwan Jones, Miami’s Graig Cooper, Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter and Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers were all available and all represent value in later rounds I find equal or superior to Murray in the third.

Again, the Cowboys must have jumped on a player who was rated so highly on their board that they could not pass.  Let me say that while I do really like Murray’s game, I don’t agree that his value was tremendous in the third round.  I had him rated as the No. 64 overall player on my 2011 Big Board. You would think the ‘Boys would have liked at least one of the running backs I listed above, all of whom they could possibly secure in the fourth round or later.

Let’s take a look at some of Murray’s tape. . .

Scouting Report

Murray has solid agility and start-and-stop ability.  His quickness and long speed are both really, really good.  He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the Combine and he really does possess home run ability.  While I don’t like the timing of the pick, I think there are only a few runners in this draft who are better for Dallas than Murray.  He’s an insurance policy against a Felix Jones injury, which was really an underrated “hole” for the ‘Boys.

If you haven’t done so yet, check out Murray’s career numbers.  I don’t look at stats when I look at film because 1) they could potentially cloud my judgment and 2) I don’t particularly care.  At the running back position, though, you always want to see a guy produce no matter the circumstances.  Murray had a ridiculous 63 total touchdowns in his career and, more important to me, 157 career receptions (including 71 alone in 2010).  Running backs must be able to catch the ball nowadays, and Murray is a natural receiver.

Murray is a continuation of what appears to be a revised draft plan for the Cowboys.  He’s a versatile player who will be especially helpful in the passing game.  Tyron Smith is a versatile player who will be especially helpful in the passing game.  Bruce Carter is a versatile player who will be especially useful in the passing game.  See a trend?

Murray’s vision is solid and he makes very quick decisions with the football.  You won’t see Murray dancing in the backfield.  He isn’t great after contact, however, and his legs sometimes die after he gets hit.  He isn’t particularly effective in short-yardage situations either.  Due to his upright running style and carelessness with the football, I think he could be prone to fumbles at the next level.

A major reason I think the ‘Boys had Murray rated so highly is that he has value as a returner.  The Cowboys don’t want Dez Bryant on returns again and it’s unclear what Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Bryan McCann can do, so Murray’s return ability could be useful as soon as 2011.

You can also bet that Marion Barber is finished in Dallas, which is a nice feeling.

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20 Responses to Cowboys Select Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray in Third Round

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    The Boys have spent a 1st, 4th and now a 3rd round pick on RBs in the past 3 years. Yet, they run the ball less than most other teams. And, they have one of the oldest O lines in the NFL.

    We don’t know what’s gonna happen w/ Tyron Smith (injury, bust, etc.). Plus, who’s the backup center – Costa?

    If Dallas wants better production from its running game, it should invest in better blockers. I’m sure MBIII will go to some other team (San Diego, Giants, maybe even Atlanta) as a complementary power back and produce (just like Flozell did for the Steelers). Some of Dallas’ players that we all seem to think are washed up (James, Newman, Roy Williams) are simply being asked to do to much w/ the lack of a better presence in both the O and D lines.

    Until Dallas gets serious about the O line (and invest more than 1 1st round pick in 5 years) then they’re not serious about winning in the post season.

  2. willis says:

    I like Demarco Murray, but I’m honestly blown away we did not draft a defensive lineman in the first three rounds, or any defensive player that is expected to come in and contribute right away, especially in a draft which has one strength….. d-line. Our defense was one of the worst in the NFL last year, and with this draft we can see why. If you don’t win in the trenches, you don’t win in the NFL, especially as Tyrone pointed out, in the post-season.

    Maybe they are expecting more out of Brent and lissemore, and I know Jerry said he was going to draft the best player for the team, which Demarco might end up being. Who knows, he could be the steal of the draft. And I understand running th ball helps defense, but seriously.

  3. JJ says:


    Wanted to digest the first three picks before comment.

    At this point, it “feels” like rounds two and three are a reach to me. Again, just prognosticating here but I’ll give you a pseudo conversation.

    Jerry: “Come hell or high water and especially with $$$ in mind against contribution, Colombo, Barber, Brooking are gone.”

    Stephen: “Dad, ok, I agree but we need talent there as the cupboard is bare. What do you think Jason?”

    Jason: “I’m a Jimmy Johnson believer in speed and protection. We need to protect Tony and get faster.”

    Jerry: “Ok, it’s done. We draft an OT, ILB and RB to replace these high priced vets in which we will part ways.”

    Ok, so, it appears the draft was based on need but Jerry stated to get three guys to start in the 3 first picks. Now, I keep hearing that the we drafted a LB who can play special teams and a third down back. Really? I heard the same voices when we drafted Hodge, Williams, etc as LBs to play special teams. Forget special teams until the 7th round. Maybe these guys pan out but I really wish we knew the plan for DE and CB. I assume we are going the Free Agent route for Safety and Guard but I’m petrified about the season with our current DEs and am aghast that Jerry believes that he doesn’t need another CB.

  4. Rick says:

    Once I watched some tape on Bruce Carter, I bought into him. He’s a true sideline to sideline player.

    I don’t get this pick at all. I do think running back was a need (though not a huge one), so if they were getting a guy like Leshoure or Ingram here I’d be happy. But I don’t even think Murray is the best runningback available, much less the best player available.

    If they’d taken Will Rackley, Curtis Brown, or Kenrick Ellis here, and a running back in Round 4 I’d have been much, much happier.

    But, oh well. I’ll support Murray as long as he’s in blue and silver. He does seems very versatile and hard working; perhaps he could be a guy like Rashard Mendenhall or Frank Gore.

  5. Vince_Grey says:

    Thought we would grab a RB, but just not this high. Mixed feelings on this one, but willing to give benefit of the doubt for now.

    Boring draft for Big D who usually make big splash and/or lots of trades, but maybe boring is better.

    Overall liking the picks, but truthfully liking each a little less than the one before.

    Smith – A

    Carter – B

    Murray – C+

    Really want to see some DL & safety love here soon.

  6. john coleman says:

    1st-I’m not in love with this pick. I do see where it could potentially be a good decision for several reasons;
    1. We have a homerun hitting backup for Felix.
    2. Probably most importantly-This allows us to rid ourselves of Barber’s huge salary.
    3. This guy has serious receiving skills. I can see a little bit of the way the Saints use Bush in Murray. I also wonder if they might try him in the slot.

    I really would have liked to see a guy like Kenrick Ellis here or another big ugly OL. However, against my better judgement, I’m trusting the staff.

    Maybe no OL, CB, DE, etc. is a signal that we feel good about some of the young guys like Young, Brewster, Costa, Bright as backups. On the other side of the ball, guys like AOA, Brent, Lissemore, Geathers, have upside that Rob Ryan likes. Maybe he feels his scheme will suit current players.

    I will say that as far as DE or FS, I’m not upset. DE is a tough out in the 3-4 as far as sack production. Most guys are asked to occupy two gaps. FS is a position that I feel will be addressed in free agency and there were no sure bets in the draft.

    I do feel we have drafted 3 guys who will make this team and contribute. Smith is obvious as the starting RT. He also provides us with our swing tackle and LT potential for 10-14 years. Carter provides much needed ILB depth and immediate ST help. Murray provides depth at RB/receiver plus we get a guy who has good return ability. He may also provide ST coverage ability.

    I like the overall speed of this group and think JJ’s commentary of Jason,” Jimmy liked speed” is absolutely a driving force here. We all have to admit we need to be faster as a team.

  7. Vince_Grey says:

    John – You got your wish, we just another “big ugly” OL in the 4th.

    3 offensive players out of 4. Very surprising. What this tells me is that Dallas feels their defensive personnel are really much closer to the 2009 version than what we saw in 2010, and that Rob can fix things without a lot of upgrades in players.

    Also tells me Garrett feels his O-line is a problem area, or will soon become one, and that special teams remains a high priority.

  8. Vince_Grey says:

    “We all have to admit we need to be faster as a team.”

    Very much agree. Speed/quickness over size almost every time.

  9. Vince_Grey says:

    BTW, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Cowboys, but Andy Dalton has a seriously hot girlfriend.

  10. Tyrone Jenkins says:


    Shredding $ might be a sign that Jerry’s willing to go after some premium FAs. Maybe not Nnamdi Asomugha but certainly a FS (Huff or Weddle) and perhaps resign Bowen to long term contracts.

    Don’t like the WR pickup – Kealoha Pilares of Hawaii would be a much better slot/special teams pickup (also listed as a RB so he’s like a Woodhead type).

    I don’t know how Olshanky’s contract is structured and if he’s owed any guaranteed $ but if he doesn’t step up in training camp, then he should be cut.

  11. Vince_Grey says:

    In a draft hip deep in D-linemen, I am very surprised Cowboys did not take a DL in this draft, but instead took 3 OL and 2 RB’s. (Ok, one is a FB, but still).

    Gotta think about this one a bit before making final preseason comments. Don’t really have any issue with the actual players as I do with their positions.

    Not one D-lineman. That just amazes me…

  12. JJ says:

    When you listen to Garrett, he comes across more believable than Jerry who was at the helm at the failed 09 draft. It’s clear what Jason is doing on offense and he now has 2 OG, an OT, a FB, a slot receiver and a RB to create a more imposing offense. By all accounts, Demarco could become an every down back; Mel Kiper feels Murray will be a match up nightmare in the slot; the lineman were well received and maybe Garrett saw a little Moose in the FB.

    Like Vince, I simply cringe over our defense but I suppose they did not feel there were quality players at DE. Perhaps they are going the route that Ryan will charge these guys up and they may add some free agents. I certainly hope that a couple of Free Agent DBs make their way to Dallas but our current Defensive End rotation has me very uneasy.

  13. Jonny Danger says:

    Kinda feel let down in this draft. All the guys I wanted were available yet we took someone else. The fact Justin Houston went just before us killed me inside. It was a stab in the heart but oh well. I happen to like Bruce Carter but the RB Im not high on at all. The last few picks don’t surprise me to much. Ill play the wait and see for now. Id give this draft a C because Im upset right now but it may turn into a solid B.

  14. Cypherlocks says:

    Well we’re finally fixing the beat up OLine like so many of us have mentioned. If we have a good OLine it really doesn’t matter who we line up at RB since any NFL RB will produce if holes are opened up. What I like about the Murray pick is that he is a decisive runner and we need someone along with Felix that has burst through the hole. So now we have two home run hitters which is great to have. We have some tough OLinmen drafted. I think tough, hard working and passionate are becoming the theme for our team. I like it. Get rid of the glitz and glammour and give me toughness and heart. MB should be gone. He is not the same smashmouth player that he was in the beginning of his career. He gave up on too many plays last year which stalled drives and left us 1 yard short of a first down because he was ran out of bounds by a little ol DB. Now the short yardage situations was the fault of the line more than his but TC had better vision in short yardage situations that MB did. Just my thoughts.

  15. I have to agree with Vince’s comment that the players are great, but their positions are not. I’d love to see how highly the Cowboys had some of these players rated, as it must be pretty high to justify selecting them ahead of players I considered of equal or better value at positions of greater need.

  16. Cypherlocks..I agree on the idea of two home run hitters…that is huge and I think people forget how little explosion the Cowboys would have in the backfield had Felix Jones got injured last year.

  17. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – Any chance we can get a look at Dallas’ board like last year?

  18. Vince…gonna try to get my hands on a few of those same photos, but none so far.

  19. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – Any reason why teams don’t release those boards to their fans afterwards anyway? I mean, besides the embarrassment if their board turns out to look bad later on? OTOH, they might look pretty smart.

    I for one would LOVE to see everyone’s board and compare notes,

  20. Vince…Well I’m not certain, but perhaps a player who is a FA in a few years could use those boards as a bargaining tool. Just a guess, but I think you’re idea about embarrassment is legit too. Teams are so secretive that they would never go out of their way to show someone their board, even down the line.

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