'Other' Arkansas RB Falls to Dallas

Ever since he arrived at Arkansas, Felix Jones was "the other one." Such is the price of playing in the same backfield with Darren McFadden, the two-time Doak Walker Award winner who many consider the premier ball carrier in the nation at the college level.

But in the toughest conference in the country, Jones still ran for more than 1,000 yards in each of the last two years (1,168 as a sophomore and 1,162 this year - his junior season).

At least he'll be used to what he'll be in Dallas - "the other one" once again. Marion Barber is - and deserves to be - the No. 1 runner for the Cowboys after making the Pro Bowl as a backup on his own team, and Jones is not headed to Dallas to take Barber's job.

But make no mistake, this is a terrific choice for the Cowboys, and no it was not made just because he shares the same last name and alma mater with the man who soon will sign his paychecks.

Jones (5-foot-10-1/8, 207 pounds, 4.47 in the 40-yard dash) is explosive and versatile. He doesn't separate the way McFadden does as a pure sprinter, but he will help the Cowboys in many ways. He's stronger than he looks, and can run inside, like Barber. He also has the burst to get to the corner and turn upfield, where he has the wheels to outrun most defenders. Where he's really exceptional - maybe even better than his former backfield partner in Fayetteville - is when he gets in the open field.

Jones also has great vision and sees seams is they're forming, and he also has the patience to let his blockers do their jobs to create holes, when many young runners tend to force the play, sometimes running into their own blockers. Jones shifts direction very well, cutting back against the grain while maintaining his speed and keeping his center of balance to allow for further direction changes.

With Tyson Thompson leaving town, Jones instantly gives the team a quality return specialist, the position at which he garnered Freshman All-America honors two years ago. But he also gives them a quality back, and an upgrade over the departed Julius Jones. Felix Jones has decent hands out of the backfield, but given the opportunity, he just a very effective runner, leaving Arkansas (after his junior season) with the second-highest career yards-per-carry average in NCAA history (7.6 per carry). He should anchor the Dallas return game and lighten the load on Barber. While he's not the biggest back around, he has exceptional acceleration, reaching his top speed quickly, and will be a dangeous change-of-pace back after Barber beats defenses down.

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