Murray Could End Up the Cowboys Future Feature Back

According to Calvin Watkins of, third round running back Demarco Murray is expected to compete with Tashard Choice for the back-up role in 2011 with an eye to being the feature back in 2012.

Murray was the featured back at Oklahoma, rushing for over 1,000 yards two of the last three seasons. He’s had some injury issues but Murray said NFL teams didn’t ask him about it and the Cowboys don’t seem concerned.

Murray has return skills, he returned kicks at OU and the team said it has tape of him catching punts. The team tried to get Felix Jones to catch punts his rookie season and he couldn’t do it on a consistent basis.

The drafting of Murray likely means the end of Marion Barber, who has started since 2008 but appears to have worn down physically. Barber is due $500,000 in June, but that’s on hold because of the lockout.

Felix Jones started the last few weeks of the season when Barber was healthy and while he did have his moments, it’s easy to second guess the Cowboys’ decision to draft him in the first round in 2008 over a host of other backs including Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson. Jones’ contract is up in 2012 and Murray’s arrival, while it doesn’t necessarily mean Jones won’t be re-signed, probably means Jones will continue to be a complementary back rather than the main ball carrier.

Head coach Jason Garrett describes Murrary as a “complete back”, and adds “He’s a guy who is big and sturdy. If you get a chance to be around him you see how long he is and how big his hands are.

He is a physical looking half-back and a guy again who has versatility both as a runner, as a receiver and as a third down blocker. We are going to create competition on our football team and bring him in there and see where he stacks up against the other guys.”

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