Ezekiel Elliott, Rico Dowdle splitting first-team reps at Cowboys OTAs

May 23, 2024

Dallas Cowboys veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott is the established “leader” in the team’s RB room, but he is splitting first-team reps with Rico Dowdle during the first week of OTAs.

Week One of Dallas Cowboys OTAs is wrapping up on Thursday, and there have been some interesting developments throughout the first few days of the offseason workouts.

The running backs have been a topic of discussion this offseason, with the Cowboys failing to add any big-name free-agent targets or use the draft to bolster the position. Instead, the Cowboys brought back the team’s former bell-cow back, Ezekiel Elliott, after he spent 2023 with the New England Patriots.

Throughout the first two days of workouts, Elliott was the clear “leader” of the running back room, but he has some competition for the leading back role.

Patrik Walker of the Cowboys official website notes Elliott and fifth-year pro Rico Dowdle were splittng the first-team reps.

This shouldn’t come as the biggest surprise, with head coach Mike McCarthy previously stating the Cowboys will use a running back-by-committee approach this season. However, with the two backs splitting carries this early in the offseason workouts, Dowdle has an opportunity to prove he deserves a bulk of the work.

While Elliott’s best years are behind him, he proved last season that there is still some gas in the tank. During his lone season with the New England Patriots, Elliott rushed for 642 yards and three touchdowns.

Dowdle, meanwhile, appeared in 16 games last season, rushing for 385 yards and two touchdowns on 89 carries. He also hauled in 17 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns receiving. Dowdle was Dallas’ primary backup running back behind Tony Pollard, who left for the Tennessee Titans in free agency this offseason.

Deuce Vaughn, Royce Freeman, Malik Davis, Snoop Conner, and Nathaniel Peat will also look to carve out roles, but outside of Deuce Vaughn, who was the breakout star of last season’s preseason, the backs will be fighting for spots on the final 53-man roster.