IRVING, Texas – Joseph Randle had to wait 151 picks to hear his name during the NFL draft.
The former Oklahoma State running back has almost no chance to start for the Dallas Cowboys because of DeMarco Murray, the Oklahoma Sooner in front of him on the depth chart.
So maybe he regrets bypassing his final college season to trade one set of Cowboys for another. Or maybe not.
“A lot of teams passed up on me, but it’s all good,” Randle said. “I’m just going to try to make the best of the situation I’m in. I can’t really be in a better situation, so maybe the wait was worth it.”
Randle says that because the Cowboys are starting to believe in the “two-back league” theory. And that’s partly because Murray has missed nine games with injuries since he rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards in his first start in 2011.
Murray broke an ankle seven weeks after his sparkling debut and missed the final three games. He was sidelined six games last year with a sprained foot, which played a role in Dallas having its worst rushing season in the 16-game era.
When the Cowboys went weeks without re-signing former first-round pick Felix Jones this offseason, it became clear the draft was a likely place for an addition. Randle was still sitting there in the fifth round last month, and he joins a pair of undrafted holdovers in Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar behind Murray.
“I’ve never really been a true starter, even though I was a starter,” Murray said. “Coming from Oklahoma and even since I’ve been here, I’ve started but Felix was always here and things like that. I’m excited for the new kid. I’m excited for Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner. Those guys definitely have worked hard and earned themselves a shot at playing time next year.”
Randle was limited to noncontact drills for the three-day rookie minicamp that started Friday. He has a cast on his right hand after surgery on a thumb that was injured at Oklahoma State. But his first weekend with the Cowboys has been as much about meeting and absorbing as it’s been about playing, so he’s not missing much.
The cast will stay on through offseason workouts and a full minicamp in June, but Randle expects to be ready for training camp.
“I think he’s very into it mentally,” running backs coach Gary Brown said. “His drive, his determination, you’ve got to hold him back. That’s a good thing.”