Draft Day Target: RB Steven Jackson

If ever there was a running back that fits the Bill Parcells mold, it has to be Oregon State's Steven Jackson. Jackson is a big, bruising back with speed and agility. What are the chances the Cowboys could grab him with the 22nd selection?

RB Steven Jackson
6-3, 230, 4.5
Oregon State University
Projected Draft Position: Mid/Late First Round

We've often heard sports writers talk about a player being a "Bill Parcells" type of player. Usually, they reference the fact that he's tough, physical, and plays the game at a very high level under pressure.

Phil Simms, Curtis Martin, Otis Anderson, and Lawrence Taylor are just some of the guys usually lumped in with this phrase.

And perhaps Roy Williams and some of the other Cowboys will soon reach that similar stature.

Certainly another player with "Parcells-like" potential is Oregon State running back Steven Jackson.

The third team AP All-American capped his college career with an NCAA bowl-record-tying five touchdowns, leading the Beavers to a 55-14 victory over New Mexico. He also finished with the first (1,690 in 2002) and third-best (1,545 in 2003) rushing totals in Oregon State history.

Jackson capped his college career with an NCAA bowl-record-tying five touchdowns, leading the Beavers to a 55-14 victory over New Mexico.
"This was a "no-brainer" as Jackson will compete with the draft's other junior running back, Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones, to become the first ball carrier selected," notes NFL Draft Expert Tony Pauline. "The Oregon State product is a complete player that can easily handle the load for an NFL offense early into his rookie campaign."

In other words, he's exactly the type of running back the Cowboys need headed into the 2004 season.

In comparison with Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones, he's undoubtedly the bigger back, but he's not quite as fast. Most analysts give the edge to Jones, but Jackson could be the player more sought after by the Cowboys? Why? Because of his size.

He's the type of back that could step in immediately and help carry the load on an offense that desperately needs another weapon next season.

The Cowboys ranked a surprising 12th in the league in 2003 rushing the football at 124 yards per game, but it wasn't until the postseason that their offensive inefficiency was truly exposed.

Dallas managed just 72 yards on the ground and 132 through the air against the Panthers in a 29-10 dismantling in Charlotte. And it became painfully obvious in a third quarter that saw the Cowboys gain exactly "0" yards that a change would be needed if the team expects to improve in 2004.

Simply put, the Cowboys' offense failed to keep the Panthers' defense on it's heels, and a large part of that was due to the lack of an intimidating running game in combination with the inconsistent Quincy Carter.

Could a Steven Jackson or a Kevin Jones help out in a situation like that next year? You bet they could, but first we'll have to see how free agency plays out before we get ahead of ourselves.

Jerry Jones and company plan to fully test the free agency market before getting completely behind selecting a running back in the first round of this April's NFL Draft.

Nevertheless, one thing appears to be certain, if they do decide on a running back in the first round, both Jackson and Virginia Tech RB Kevin Jones are at the top of their list.

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