Reviewing the Cowboys’ flagship rusher every season since Emmitt Smith

Emmett Smith was a great comeback. And not only was it because he had such a wide range of skills from his amazing vision and dribbling to his physical play, but also because he had always been so durable that he was like Forrest Gump as he ran, ran, and ran.

In the end, he stopped running and ended his career as the leading NFL racer and that’s all I have to say about it.

Well, actually, it isn’t. Today, we’ll revisit the Dallas Cowboys’ post-Emmett era running game and take a look at each player who led the team in rushing each year after Smith’s tenure at Dallas ended after the 2002 season.

2003 Troy Hambrick

Signed to the UDFA title in 2000, Hambrick was essentially a special team player who carried the ball only six times in his rookie season. Eventually, he started seeing more action, and even had some thought as to whether he should have a start on Smith during Emmett’s Twilight years. Hambrick finally got his chance in 2003, after Smith left for Arizona, and carried the ball an impressive 275 times. He only carried the ball at a measly 3.5 yards, so despite his heavy workload, he never reached the 1,000-yard mark. In a strange series of events, Hambrick was waived in 2004 and eventually ended up playing one final season with the Cardinals where he once again backed Smith.

2004-2006 Julius Jones

One of the reasons the Cowboys moved from Hambrick was because of the excitement surrounding them Notre Dame Running back Julius Jones. The rookie took the lead early on, and it was influential veteran Eddie George who joined the team that same year. Jones put in an impressive 819 yards in his first year despite playing in only half the games. Yardage totals improved in each of the following two seasons, reaching 1,084 yards in 2006.

Not a fun fact: Emmitt Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons from 1991 to 2001. Over the next 11 years, the Cowboys once hit that mark and it was Julius Jones in 2006.

2007-2009 Marion Barber III

Jones finished his bull run low on the Cowboys by just 588 yards. That’s because third year Marion Barber got the lion’s share of pregnancy. Jones started every game in 2007 while Barber appeared on the bench. However, it was Barber who caused the most damage, even earning a trip to Pro Bowl Although a single game is not started. Front Office loved “The Barbarian” so much that they re-signed him in a seven-year, $45 million deal in 2008. Eventually, his production began to decline and he was released in 2011 playing one final season with Chicago Bears.

Cowboys fans were heartbroken to hear the news of Marion Barber’s death. Rabblerousr and I discuss the latest news from the OTA as well as pay our respects to Barber in the latest issue of The Star Seminar.

2010 Felix Jones

Barber spent his last season with the Cowboys at the lower end of a timeshare with third year backer Felix Jones. In the first round in 2008, Jones showed incremental increases in production as the team trusted him with more load. In 2010, he got his chance with 185 high positions in his career which he converted to an 800 yard rushing. It was the height of his career as his numbers slowly dwindled over the next two years before he finally left Dallas to play one final season in Pittsburgh.

2011-2014 Di Marco Murray

Barber’s release was a cover-saving move as the Cowboys found themselves with a surplus of backs with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice in the mix, but another comeback was added in 2011 when Oklahoma freshman DeMarco Murray joined the party. A third-round pick by Dallas, Murray only played through a rookie deal before signing with the contender Philadelphia Eagles For more money, but he left his mark. In 2011 as a rookie, he set the record for the dash in a singles game with 253 yards. He also marked the Cowboys’ racing field one season a few years later with 1,845 yards in 2014 where he would go on to win Player of the Year.

2015 Darren McFadden

Murray’s departure left a huge gap in the running back, but the front office was confident he could fill the void with Joseph Randle returning for a third year along with signing free agent Darren McFadden. Randle was the man early on, but in the end it was veteran McFadden who took the lead. McFadden rushed for 1,089 yards in 2015, only the second time in his career that he’s come this far. The Cowboys’ cheap style was effective, but their attack could gain no traction due to quarterback Tony Romo losing most of the season.

2016-present Ezekiel Elliott

After going a few different ways in past seasons, the Cowboys decided not to mess when they made Ezekiel Elliott the fourth overall pick in 2016. NFL Project. The Ohio State The star hit the ground running, flopting 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season where he averaged over 108 yards per game. The Cowboys have relied heavily on Zeke over the years as he already has 1,650 carries so far in his career. His wear could be catching up to him as his yards have decreased per game every year since the junior season.

Here’s a yearly breakdown of the rushing cowboy leader since Smith’s departure in 2003.