The Dallas Cowboys have the top-graded running back in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Had you heard that this would happen a few months ago, you probably wouldn’t doubt it. After all, Ezekiel Elliott is still regarded as one of the best at his job in the league. The surprise would come when finding out it’s not Zeke who we’re talking about.

Instead, Tony Pollard has the top grade in PFF. Through two weeks, he’s been the most explosive running back on the Cowboys and it’s really not even close, as he’s averaged 8 yards per touch… More on that in a second.

But Pollard’s performance has earned him the title of an “NFL Draft Steal” for Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm, who writes a weekly series following players who have proven to be “steals.” When he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Pollard sure seemed to be one of the most intriguing prospects from the Cowboys rookie class.

But being “intriguing” as a complement for Ezekiel Elliott is one thing. Going from that to sparking an actual debate as to who should be RB1 for the Dallas Cowboys is another.

In his article, Edholm looks back as to why Pollard fell in the 2019 NFL Draft. He points out that – as is often the case with versatile prospects – NFL teams doubted if he was a legit running back or more of a gadget player.

But also, it sounds like evaluators felt Pollard struggled with tape. At least according to some NFL teams.

“But some evaluators told us there were worried about his interview sessions, where Pollard revealed that tape study was an area he admitted he needed major growth and improvement.

The Dallas Cowboys running back even had a strong showing in his Pro Day. But that didn’t keep him from falling to Day 3 of the Draft.

Even with a killer pro-day workout, with Pollard dropping his 40 time to 4.38 seconds, teams’ opinions were only swayed so much. There was a pre-draft sense he still needed time to grow before he was ready to offer major contributions.”

Now, the Dallas Cowboys have an interesting situation at running back. In Week 2, the running backs evenly split touches in a productive game versus the L.A. Chargers. The question now is, will that trend continue? Or could it even tilt Pollard’s way?

The numbers show Pollard has clearly been the most explosive back on the team since 2019. While one could argue the Cowboys’ backup RB sees more favorable looks, the truth is the difference in 20+ yard carries is huge when considering the touches both backs have gotten.

All of this seems to come down to a trade-off for the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott is likely the best overall running back. He’s a more patient runner, a better blocker in pass protection, a better power back, so on and so forth. But when it comes to explosiveness, there’s no denying Pollard is better.

In today’s NFL, who do you want to line up most of the time? At the very least, it seems like the Cowboys are committed to playing both more evenly.

Whatever they do moving forward, Cowboys Nation can at least know they have a pretty dynamic duo playing behind a good offensive line while being complemented with one of the best passing offenses in the NFL.

Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports