The end of Barber?

With the seventh pick in the third round (71st overall), the Dallas Cowboys added to their stable of running backs by selecting DeMarco Murray out of the University of Oklahoma.

The 6-foot, 213-pound Murray wasn't the highest-rated running back in this year's draft. But at a school that has produced some absolutely legendary ball carriers — Adrian Peterson, Billy Sims, Joe Washington — all Murray did was establish new OU records for all-purpose yards (6,626), touchdowns (64), points (384) and receiving yards by a RB (1,572). Like everyone, Murray has his detractors, but considering the tradition of great players — and particularly the great running backs — who have rolled through Norman, those records are extremely impressive.

Murray is a 4.4 runner in the 40-yard dash, but it's his elusive style that makes him tough to tackle. Yes, he can cover a lot of ground when there is open space in front of him, but he is a slashing runner who can give defenses fits the way he cuts back across the grain when defenders pursue him in swarms.

Murray played in 50 games for the Sooners, starting for three seasons. He piled up 759 carries, including a career-high 282 as a senior, for 3,685 rushing yards. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark twice in his career, rushing for 1,002 as a sophomore and 1,214 in 2010.

He doesn't just collect yards, though — Murray has a nose for the end zone, scoring 50 rushing touchdowns at Oklahoma, including 13 as a freshman, 14 as a sophomore and 15 as a senior, and rushed for more than 100 yards in a single game 13 times in his career. He also is a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield, having caught 157 passes in his career (the second-highest total ever at OU by a running back), including a career-high 71 last year, for 1,571 receiving yards in his career and 11 more touchdowns through the air. To top it all off, Murray will contribute on special teams, too; he returned 53 punts for Oklahoma.

For all of his production, Murray was a three-time All-Big 12 honoree, being named by the coaches around the conference to the first team as a sophomore and senior, and to the second team as junior.

What makes Murray's numbers even more impressive is the fact that he posted his gaudy statistics while battling various injuries: Murray sat out the 2006 (his true freshman) season because of a severe case of turf toe; he had a foot injury in 2007 and dislocated his right knee cap, which ended up requiring surgery; he had surgery again in 2008 to repair a torn hamstring; he dealt with ankle and hamstring injuries in 2009; and played through a left knee injury as a senior. That list can be looked at two ways: is he injury-prone, or extraordinarily tough?

In Dallas, he joins a crowded backfield that includes Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, and the popular thought last year was that there weren't enough carries to go around. Does Murray's arrival mean one of them is on the way out?

It certainly could. Keep an eye on Marion Barber, who isn't getting any younger and who has also seen his role diminish the last two seasons.

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