Examining the Cowboys' Running Back Depth Chart Ahead of OTAs

The Cowboys' decision not to draft a running back caused an uproar among fans. Dallas instead chose to address other needs on their roster. Here is a current look at the Cowboys' running back depth chart.
Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrate a touchdown.
Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrate a touchdown. / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys chose to draft three offensive linemen -- including two in the first three rounds. Fans should be encouraged by the team's selections as Dallas looks to prove that anyone can run behind a great offensive line.

But who will be tasked with running the ball?

RB1: Ezekiel Elliott

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Once the Cowboys' bellcow back, Elliott returns to the Cowboys after one season with the New England Patriots. Elliott has one thing on his mind: chasing a ring with his former team. His production has slipped every season in the NFL, but he looks to prove that he still deserves a bulk of a team’s carries.


RB2: Rico Dowdle

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Last season, Dowdle demonstrated his effectiveness in the Cowboys backfield. With Elliott's production on the decline, he and Dowdle will work as a formidable one-two punch. Elliott will be the bully in short-yardage situations, while Dowdle will be the home run hitter.

RB3: Deuce Vaughn

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Despite a stellar preseason performance, Vaughn's regular season performance was underwhelming. Vaughn will need to prove his shortcomings during his rookie campaign was just a fluke and that he can make the transition into an NFL running back.

RB4: Hunter Luepke

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Despite making the 53-man roster as a fullback last year, Luepke struggled to establish a significant role. Luepke was utilized in short-yardage situations; he must prove his value again, especially with Elliott returning to Big D.

RB5: Royce Freeman

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Freeman is heading into his seventh season with his fifth team. Although he was not the signing Cowboys fans were hoping for when they pleaded for a running back in the early stages of free agency, his talent has continued to find him homes in the NFL.

RB6: Malik Davis

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Following a five-year college career with the Florida Gators, Davis has spent his first two seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys. He appeared in 12 games in 2022, averaging 4.2 yards per carry; however, he did not receive any touches in 2023. Davis is currently a longshot for a spot on the 53-man roster this season.

RB7: Snoop Conner

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Conner serves as a powerback and is an unlikely candidate to make the Cowboys roster. He is a physical and tough-nosed runner; however, the role of power back has been filled by the return of Zeke.

RB8: Nathaniel Peat (UDFA)

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Peat has blazing speed, recording an impressive 4.32 40-yard dash time at the Missouri Pro Day. Despite receiving limited touches during his five-year college career, Peat consistently flashed potential whenever he had the chance. While he will not become a lead back, his speed and strength could make him a valuable asset to any team.

Ezekiel Elliott and Rico Dowdle have locked in their spots on the roster, but it is anyone's guess who will fill out the remainder of the running back group. Both Deuce Vaughn and Hunter Luepke earned a spot on the roster last season and will compete again this year with Royce Freeman, Malik Davis, Snoop Conner, and Nathaniel Peat.

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Koby Skillern