After missing out on several big names in free agency this offseason, notably Duce Staley, the Cowboys are certainly focused on finding a running back in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Whether it happens in the first round or the second, you can be assured that one of those first two selections will likely go to someone that can become a difference maker in the backfield.
Enter Northern Illinois running back Michael Turner.
Turner rushed for 1,915 yards as a junior and 1,648 more as a senior, and finished #13 on the all-time National Collegiate Athletic Association major-college rushing list with 4,941 career yards.
"He's an effective on the interior between the hashes or outside of tackle. He also runs low to the ground, and is strong in his hips and picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact," notes NFL Draft Expert Tony Pauline.
|Turner rushed for over 3,500 yards during his last two seasons at NIU, and is likely a prime target in the 2nd or 3rd round in the upcoming NFL Draft.|
The question regarding Michael Turner at this point is, do the Cowboys really want him?
The answer lies in where the team feels as though its needs are the greatest. Undoubtedly, the offensive line is an area that Bill Parcells would like to focus on in April, but the lack of a true playmaker at running back is also of primary importance.
Turner is a tough runner, much in the mold of a Curtis Martin, but not a guy that would consider has true breakaway speed. "He's not an elusive ball carrier that creates or makes something out of nothing," added Pauline.
Troy Hambrick, who failed to reach the 1,000-yard plateau last season as the starter, clearly isn't the answer either.
So where does that leave Turner?
If the Cowboys set their sites on a running back in the first round, he really isn't an option. However, if the Cowboys go with an offensive lineman first, then Turner becomes a primetime target.
As Bill Parcells has often said this offseason, it depends on who is available when the Cowboys go on the clock.
"Everyone speculates about what our needs are, but sometimes the needs don't coincide with the availability," said Parcells. "You have to live with something longer than you would like because you don't have options that fit into allowing you to be flexible."