Cowboys reportedly ‘like’ Texas RB heading into the draft
A Texas running back possibly made the Cowboys take notice before the draft, not Bijan Robinson, but his teammate Roschon Johnson.
“Even though he was the No. 2 back at Texas behind Robinson, Johnson has caught the eye of scouts,” wrote ESPN’s Jordan Reid.
Per Clarence Hill Jr. of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys are a team that likes him.
Dallas has Pro Bowl RB Tony Pollard, but he suffered an ankle injury in a divisional-round loss to the 49ers that required surgery. Although he’ll be ready for training camp, he may need time to regain speed, so having a young back who can produce is smart.
Johnson is an exciting prospect because he has untapped potential and might raise his game when he reaches the next level.
In 12 games in 2022, the 6-foot, 219-pound RB rushed for 554 yards on 96 carries, averaging six yards per carry, close to Robinson’s total of 6.1 yards per carry. Per Pro Football Focus, his 45 percent forced missed tackle rate is the best among all RBs, with at least 190 attempts over the past two seasons.
However, Robinson is the better prospect if Dallas has an opportunity to select him with the No. 26 pick it should. Yet he may not be available at that slot. Per Tankathon, Tampa Bay will select him with the No. 19 pick. Conversely, Johnson is a projected third or fourth-round pick, per Reid.
The Cowboys could try to trade up and acquire Robinson, but why would they risk it? Only five of the 13 RBs taken in the first round from 2011-19 have had their fifth-year option activated, per ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.
Also, Dallas can have confidence in its ability to develop RBs drafted in later rounds. For example, Pollard was a fourth-round pick (No. 128 overall) in 2019.
The Cowboys shouldn’t feel like they’re getting a consolation prize in Johnson because he could be another late-round gem.
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