Ezekiel Elliot is only six games into his NFL career and the running back already looks like he is the best player at the position to be taken in the top 5 of the draft since LaDanian Tomlinson. The Dallas Cowboys selected the running back with the 4th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. A lot of people questioned this move because they needed defensive talent sorely, but the pick has paid off so far.
Elliot has taken the lead by storm so far, with the help of the best offensive line in the league. His performance so far points to him being well worth the risk the Cowboys took on him in the draft. Picking a running back that early in the draft is considered risky by most teams. It is risky because the gap from the best to the worst running back in the draft usually isn’t that sizable. The Cleveland Browns recently took Trent Richardson with the 3rd pick only to trade him to the Colts two years later.
In his first couple games, it didn’t look like he was going to be all he cracked up to be. He averaged under 70 yards per game in the first two weeks. Ever since then, he has exploded. His lowest total since game two has been 134 yards. Last week Elliot rushed for 157 yards. He has helped the Cowboys surprisingly become one of the best teams in the league with a 5-1 record. Their rookie backfield of Elliot and the upstart rookie QB, Dak Prescott, are the talk of the NFL.
It is important to note that the Cowboys haven’t played the toughest schedule in the NFL so far this season. The softer defenses they have faced could be a catalyst for Elliot’s success so far. His numbers have been staggering enough to suggest that his talent is the main reason for his success, though. Some people think that he is the best running back in the NFL right now. His stats do not say otherwise.
Another thing to think about in regards to Elliot’s season so far is the number of carries he has been getting. The Cowboys are giving him the ball a lot. He has had almost 30 carries the last two weeks. Not going to be sustainable for the entire season, especially for a rookie. Later in the season, it will be interesting to see if Elliot hits the “rookie wall”. Remember, he has never played more than 12 games in a season.
Elliot is lucky to play for the Cowboys. They have the best offensive line for run blocking in pro football. Their skill combined with his talent is taking a lot of pressure off young quarterback Dak Prescott. These factors combined have made the Cowboys one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL so far this season.
The only questions that surround Ezekiel Elliot at this point are whether or not he has the endurance to keep up his production and if improved defenses will expose a chink in his armor. His production in the last four games has been some of the best by a rookie in the history of the NFL. Even if these negative factors do slow down the young runner, he should be a star in the league for years to come.