The Dallas Cowboys have had a lot of amazing players over the years. As one of the most successful franchises of all time, a lot of talent has gone through Big D. Among that talent were two of the greatest running backs in NFL history. They also currently have the best rookie running back of the past few years. They also traded one of the best running backs of all time. The point is, the Dallas Cowboys have had some pretty good luck when it has come to running backs. But who really were the very best backs who ever played for the team. And on the other side of the coin, there had to be some relatively pathetic backs who wore the blue and silver star on their helmets, who were they? We scoured the rosters, analyzed the stats, and figured it out. Here are the Eight BEST and Seven WORST Dallas Cowboys running backs of all time.
15. Best: Don Perkins
After a college career at the University of New Mexico where he was a two way star, Don Perkins became a Dallas Cowboy before they even became an official NFL team. With the franchise being admitted to the league too late to participate in the 1960 NFL Draft the Cowboys ended up signing Perkins to a contract without drafting him. The weird start to his career continued as he sat out his first year with injuries but once he finally started playing for the team in 1961 he won NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Although he never rushed for over 1000 yards in a season he was in the top ten in rushing every year of his career and when he retired he was the fifth leading rusher in NFL history up to that point with 6,217 yards. He also remained third on the Cowboys all time list for rushing touchdowns behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett until Marion Barber surpassed him in the early 2000s.
14. Worst: Junior Tautalatasi
After two uneventful years playing for Washington State where he rushed for a total of 402 yards, Junior Tautalatasi was drafted in the 10th round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Tautalatasi played three seasons with the Eagles. He showed more effectiveness out of the backfield than running the ball and was used as a third down back. After he was waived by the Eagles he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He received more action as a receiver in Dallas as well, only managing 2.4 yards per carry for the Cowboys with 15 yards on six carries. His also had three fumbles with the Cowboys despite very few touches.
13. Best: Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker was the greatest running back to ever play for the Georgia Bulldogs. He was the greatest running back to play in the USFL. He was the greatest running back to ever be traded for 30 people (approximately). He was involved in the greatest trade ever engineered. But he was not the greatest Cowboy running back ever. Incidentally he was not the greatest Vikings back ever either (Adrian Peterson), but he may have been the greatest back to ever play for the Eagles. Needless to say, Herchel Walker was a great back. And certainly among the greatest backs to play for the Cowboys based on his stats as well as the value he brought to the team in “The Trade” which helped create the ’90s dynasty.
12. Worst: J.W. Lockett
Even though he averaged over 4.0 yards per carry as a fullback for the Cowboys, J.W. Lockett made his way onto the list of worst Cowboys running backs based on another problem with his game. In 26 appearances over two seasons with the Cowboys Lockett rushed the ball 74 times and managed over 300 yards. His big problem that earned him a spot here is because of his troubles with actually holding onto the ball when he did get his hands on it. Along with his 22 receptions out of the backfield, Lockett had 96 total touches in his time in Dallas. Somehow he managed to fumble the ball 11 times. With 96 total touches that means Lockett fumbled the ball about once every eight and a half times. As coach always said, you gotta hold onto the ball!
11. Best: DeMarco Murray
Following a record setting career with the Oklahoma Sooners which included a trip to the National Championship game DeMarco Murray was chosen in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2011 NFL Draft. Murray rushed for almost 900 yards his rookie year. His numbers fell to 663 yards his second year but he broke 1000 yards rushing during his third season. Hi bi breakout season however was 2014 when he lead the league in rushing with 1845 yards and 13 touchdowns behind the Cowboys highly touted offensive line. The Cowboys decided not to keep Murray however and he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and ran for 700 yards that season. He has rushed for over 1200 yards in 2016 with the Tennessee Titans.