There is no doubt about Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones’ place on the depth chart.
He’s the unquestioned starter for the first time in his career. And Jones looked the part in the Cowboys’ preseason opener, when he gained 39 yards on four touches during the starters’ lone drive.
There is no debate about Jones as the lead horse in the Cowboys’ running back committee, but the coaching staff still must make a difficult decision about him. If there’s too much Jones, it won’t be a good thing.
Jason Garrett raves about Jones becoming "more and more of a complete back," but that doesn’t change the fact that the Cowboys drafted him in the 2008 first round to be a complementary big-play threat. Garrett and Co. have to determine how often they can use Jones without hitting a point of diminishing returns.
"What we don’t do is we don’t say he’s a 14-touch guy," Garrett said. "We don’t decide that the second week of August and say, ‘If he gets more than 14, 16, whatever the number is, it will be bad for him.' We encourage our players to play hard every snap, to play the right way every snap."
With DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice not being the pictures of health at this point, the Cowboys will lean on Jones early. And he's talented enough to where they'll lean on him all season long, regardless of their belief he's best used as a change-of-pace back. His current ADP has him going in the fifth round, and his production level should exceed his draft position.