Commentary

Rookie Watch: Murray amazes

Originally Published: October 26, 2011
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.

To say that Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray burst onto the scene would be the understatement of the century.

His 253-yard rushing performance was amazing. I can't take a thing away from Murray, because he played great, but that total does inflate what he did to some degree. Dallas' blocking dominated a downtrodden Rams defense and opened gaping holes for Murray. Of course, Murray capitalized on the opportunity.

Murray didn't catch a pass in Week 7, but that facet of his game is very advanced for a rookie. Murray has a solid build and is adept in protection. He has very soft hands and is a plus route runner for a running back. That very much fits what Dallas wants to do on offense, as I see this as a pass-first offense with lighter, more athletic linemen than in the past.

But Murray is no slouch as a runner, either. He is somewhat of a straight-line runner, though, and doesn't have great lateral quickness. But he is fast in a straight line, runs aggressively with power, and is decisive in all his movements with a strong burst for a back with his dimensions.

This is obviously Murray's job until Felix Jones returns. But once Jones does get back into the fold, I would keep Murray as the primary runner and use Jones as a change-of-pace player and third-down option. But Murray also would be fine in a third-down role.

Jones (high ankle sprain) and Murray (hamstring injury early in the season) both have had health issues, so utilizing both makes a ton of sense to me. But in a nutshell, it looks like Dallas hit big on its third-round pick.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.