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Joel Klatt belives Dallas Cowboys passing on a running back was an oversight

IMG_0985by:Griffin McVeigh04/30/24


Dallas Cowboys
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

There were quite a few positions of need for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. While left tackle was the most glaring one, running back was not too far behind. Tony Pollard left Dallas in free agency, signing with the Tennessee Titans instead.

Most thought Jerry Jones would select one on Day 2 but wound up without a running back in the draft class — a move FOX’s Joel Klatt did not understand.

Jonathon Brooks was somebody Jones publicly admitted the Cowboys were interested him. But he went No. 46 overall to the Carolina Panthers, 10 spots ahead of Dallas’ second-round pick.

“Jonathon Brooks goes off the board,” Klatt said. “And I’m thinking to myself ‘You know what, that’s probably good for Dallas. Go ahead and be patient and now you have those two or three guys in the third round that you can select.'”

Klatt had three other guys on his big board he liked. Florida State‘s Trey Benson, Michigan‘s Blake Corum, and USC‘s MarShawn Lloyd. Benson was already gone by the time Dallas was back on the clock but there was an opportunity to take one of the other two.

“So, we get to the third round — they had two picks in the third round… They take guard Cooper Beebe out of Kansas State. Interesting, because there is not a consensus at the top of the interior offensive line.”

Not a pick you can knock too hard considering Dallas also needed a starting center. Beebe did not play there at Kanas State but people in the Cowboys organization seem confident it will translate after going through rookie minicamp and training camp.

Next time Dallas was slated to pick again at No. 87, Corum was taken by the Rams, and in Klatt’s eyes, giving them a perfect opportunity… Until they went in a completely different direction.

“So now, there is only one left, at least in my estimation,” Klatt said of Lloyd. “So now the Cowboys are taking their second pick in the third round and they need a running back. And they take Marist Liufau from Notre Dame. A linebacker, an off-the-ball linebacker. An off-the-ball linebacker. I get it, (Leighton) Vander Esch, the whole situation. They need that too.

“And then the next pick, the Green Bay Packers, who you will likely have to play at some point in the playoffs, take Marshawn Lloyd.”

The Cowboys have been killed by Green Bay running backs in recent seasons, most notably this year’s Wild Card playoff game in Arlington. Aaron Jones erupted for 118 yards and three touchdowns en route to a blowout win at AT&T Stadium.

Green Bay released Jones this offseason, therefore, the need at running back was there. Lloyd will now be their guy, somebody Klatt says “at times, the best of the bunch” due to his health, lack of workload, and homerun ability.

“This is one of those picks you look back on in a year with hindsight and you say to yourself and you say ‘Do you remember when Dallas passed on Marshawn Lloyd in the third round? And now look at it.’ Marshawn Lloyd could be a back that goes for 100, 125 yards against Dallas in a big moment while Dallas doesn’t have an answer.”

Since the draft, the Cowboys signed Ezekiel Elliott but as Klatt points out, he is far from a long-term solution with just a one-year contract. He thought Dallas needed somebody for the future and to give the position a little more stability.

Instead, Elliott is currently slated to be RB1 while presumed backup Rico Dowdle resigned with the team this offseason. Duece Vaughn was a draft pick out of Kansas State last season but did not receive too many regular season opportunities in 2023.

Draft misses and can be tough to stomach when directly coming back to bite you. Running back could be that position for the Cowboys in the immediate future.