Running back Tony Pollard opened some eyes during his third season with the Dallas Cowboys.
And yet, during the 2021 season, Pollard was their most underappreciated player.
In a recent article on NFL.com, NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund made a list of the most underappreciated players in the league. Of the 16 players on the list, Pollard was the only Cowboy.
Here’s what Frelund had to say about Pollard: “Pollard’s 6.4 yards per rush outside the tackles in 2021 ranked second among backs with at least 50 attempts, per Next Gen Stats. His success as Dallas’ No. 2 back helped earn him PFF’s second-highest grade (90.3) among all RBs, ”Frelund writes. “Given questions along the O-line, there is a strong and logical case to be made for Dallas to feature more plays with both Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott on the field.”
As a backup to Elliott in 2021, Pollard rushed for a career-high 719 rushing yards and 337 receiving yards. After falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round last season, the Cowboys even admitted they made a mistake of not getting Pollard more touches.
One example was when Pollard saw just six touches during a Week 17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, including two in the final three quarters.
“Obviously, we’ve got to get him in there more,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said on Jan. 6. “That’s certainly fair, and that’s all of us looking at it in reflection … We want to get Tony on the field more. We’ve got to get him more involved. That game turned into one that we didn’t do a good enough job of getting him in there. ”
Equally his best highlight and lowlight of the season came against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2, when Pollard broke free for a 58-yard touchdown run. It was the Cowboys ’first 50-plus-yard run since Alfred Morris’ 70-yard run against the Rams in 2017.
However, on the play, Pollard tore his plantar fascia, which caused him to miss a game.
For all the value Pollard represents for the Cowboys, his adjusted average per year is $ 797,582, 174th among NFL running backs. The 25-year-old entering the final year of his rookie contract, set to receive $ 965,000 in base salary, according to Spotrac.
Then in 2023, Pollard will have the chance to shed his label as underappreciated as an unrestricted free agent.
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