Once upon a time last season Dallas Cowboys star up-and-coming running back DeMarco Murray not only looked the part of a first-round fantasy pick, but had the makings of a Top 5 (perhaps even Top 3) selection.
Then came the injury bug. Given his exponential potential, do you consider Murray worthy of a first-round selection?
Last season, he finished his rookie campaign with 897 yards on the ground at an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. Murray also picked up 26 catches for 183 yards.
Granted, 1,080 total yards isn’t earth-shattering, especially when you take into account he only scored two touchdowns, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
He didn’t receive double-digit carries in a single contest until Week 6 following the team’s bye week, where he chalked up just 34 yards on 11 attempts against the New England Patriots.
Week 7 against the St. Louis Rams was his breakout performance, nevertheless. Murray, 24, exploded for a whopping 253 rushing yards and a score on 25 carries, averaging 10.1 yards a pop.
Proving that ground-breaking display was far from a fluke, the former third-round selection (71st overall) out of Oklahoma in the 2011 NFL Draft averaged 132.4 total yards over the next five weeks.
Toss in his stellar showing against St. Louis and he averaged 152.5 total yards during a six-game stretch. Minus the touchdowns, those are Arian Foster-type numbers. At 6-0, 215 pounds, Murray has great size and speed.
He’s also entering just his second season and operates in an explosive offense.
If he can remain healthy (and keep his head on straight), he should see at least 15-20 touches per game. Moreover, if Murray can continue to pile up the yardage, he should be a hot commodity because his touchdown total will also inevitably improve. As the season draws closer, I could see myself pushing him up a few notches, but for the moment, Murray is currently my 14th-ranked running back.
Eventually, I could consider him an RB1, but I don’t expect he’ll move up to first-round status. That may be where you need to take him, though. Mock Draft Central has him as the eighth running back off the board and the 10th player overall.
If you’re willing to take the leap of faith on his durability, there could be some major rewards to reap. Just be careful because you could find yourself scrambling to fill your RB1 slot.