Things We’ve Learned About Bo Scarbrough
The Cowboys selected Bo Scarbrough, running back from Alabama, in the 7th round (#236) of the 2018 NFL Draft. Here are “5 Things to Know” about Scarbrough.
James D. Smith
His Running Style is “Bruising”
Scarbrough is big (6-1, 228) and he’s a physical runner who describes his style as ‘a bruiser’. Scouting services have described him as a runaway locomotive that is hard to stop once it gets going. His running style has also been compared to other bruising NFL running backs like Brandon Jacobs, formerly of the NY Giants.
Remember “Marion the Barbarian”? Scarbrough is Bigger Than Him!
Cowboys fans loved to watch the bruising, physical running style of Marion Barber who was nicknamed “Marion the Barbarian”, mainly because he would dish out as much punishment as he took.
Scarbrough is bigger than Barber (5-11, 221). This is not a prediction that Scarbrough will have the same kind of impact on the Cowboys. But Barber was a complementary player who worked his way into a bigger role in the offense, eventually taking over as the featured running back. Scarbrough will have to work hard this summer to make the 53-man roster, so let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse.
James D. Smith
But Cowboys fans love physical players like Barber, so they will enjoy watching Scarbrough compete for a roster spot this preseason.
James D. Smith
Where Does Scarbrough Fit in with the Cowboys?
First of all, a rookie running back in the NFL has to show he can pass protect before he gets a chance to play in regular season games. Scarbrough played in a pro-style offense at Albama, so that will help his transition to the Cowboys. But he will have to prove he can recognize and pick-up blitzers.
He is not known for pass-catching, but there are other running backs on the Cowboys roster who can do that.
Ezekiel Elliott is the unquestioned starter for the Cowboys, a three-down back who will get the vast majority of snaps. Elliott’s backup is Rod Smith. Alfred Morris, who has been a backup the past two seasons, remains unsigned in free agency. Tavon Austin, who was acquired in a trade with the Rams, is a wide receiver who may get some gadget plays as a running back (think of how Lucky Whitehead was used a couple of years ago on the jet sweep). So, what’s left for Scarbrough?
Because of Scarbrough’s size, he could find a role on short yardage and goal line plays. But whatever his role running the ball, he will only find that opportunity if he excels on special teams. A third string running back who is a 7th round draft pick, no matter his championship pedigree at University of Alabama, has to learn to play special teams to make the Cowboys’ roster. There are only 46 players allowed to dress out on game day, per NFL rule. The third string running back has to contribute on special teams to be one of those 46, whether it’s playing coverage units on special teams or working as a return specialist.
Scarbrough is used to waiting his turn for playing time and flourishing in a complementary role. As a redshirt freshman at Alabama, he was the backup to Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry. The next two seasons, Scarbrough shared carries with Damien Harris.
Butch Dill via AP
Championship Pedigree = Lots of Bling
Whether or not he was the featured back, Scarbrough thrived in his role at Alabama. He made the most of his opportunities when healthy. He has six championship rings (SEC, Bowl Game, CFP Playoffs) including two National Championship Rings. He probably could have added more rings this coming season, but he decided to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Availability/Durability are His Biggest Question Mark
The biggest knock on Scarbrough is his injury history. When you’re a tall guy who runs with an upright style, you’re going to take a lot of hits.
Scarbrough has missed playing time over his career. He suffered multiple injuries throughout high school, including a broken ankle, a torn ACL, and a high ankle sprain. In college, in his first spring scrimmage as a redshirt freshman, he tore his ACL.
Chris O’Meara via AP
As a sophomore, he suffered a broken leg in the National Championship Game.
Coaches will tell you that “availability” is as important as “ability”. You can have all the ability in the world, but if you’re not available for practice or games, the league moves on without you. Let’s hope Scarbrough stays healthy and stays on the field to prove his worth to the coaching staff.