What the Cowboys are getting in RB Ezekiel Elliott
But he’ll have help in what is now a crowded backfield for the Cowboys. Veteran Darren McFadden finished fourth in the league in rushing last season breaking the 1,000 yard mark for only the second time in his career and the Cowboys signed free agent Alfred Morris this offseason from Washington. He also had 27 catches for 206 yards. He finished the 2014 season with monster games in the Big Ten championship, Sugar Bowl and national championship game, which OSU won at Arlington’s AT Stadium behind 246 yards and four touchdowns from Elliott. Elliott’s youth league coaches in the St. Louis area named him "One Speed," he said, because he didn’t understand tempo and "did everything at one speed. Very fast." Elliott’s father Stacy starred at linebacker and his mother Dawn competed in the heptathlon at Missouri. Mentor is former NFL running back Marshall Faulk. Elliott said he learned a lot from his comments after loss to Michigan State when his critique of coaches’ playcalling sparked controversy.
Quote: "The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league and that’s a running back’s dream. From what I’ve seen on film they pop those holes open and the running backs just get to the second level so fast. An argument can be made that he’ll have a greater impact in 2016 than any other rookie. He could burst on the scene the way Todd Gurley did for the St. Louis/now LA Rams last season with one big difference: Elliott’s debut won’t be delayed because he’s coming off an ACL injury. The Cowboys place a lot of faith in their offensive line. It’s justified. Darren McFadden resurrected a career that appeared dead behind that line in ’15. If you accept the premise that a good back can have an outstanding season behind this line, what could an outstanding back do? What would that mean for the remainder of Romo’s career, and how could that aid the defense? A four year rookie contract in the neighborhood of $23 million doesn’t sound like too much to pay for that potential impact. It would be considered a bargain in the third and fourth year if Elliott’s production meets or exceeds projections. But it doesn’t make fiscal sense to add Elliott to the mix of McFadden, Morris and Lance Dunbar. It’s a poor allocation of limited resources.
Brandon George: Elliott may be a difference maker. But it’s a five year window with him. But hey, the Cowboys are working with a five year window. Tony Romo’s got a five year window. So maybe you do bring Elliott in and make the big final push here with Romo and Witten this next five years and see what you can do. Because he obviously helps the offense in a lot of ways. Scouts rave about Elliott’s vision to find holes and hit them quickly. He’s a physical back who always seems to fall forward; a solid pass catcher but excellent run blocker.
Kevin Sherrington: If you believe in Elliott, you don’t say, "Well, we signed Alfred Morris." Think how that will sound in five years if Elliott has racked up 7,500 yards. Elliott does everything well. Even a great blocker. Romo would be glad to know the kid has his back.
Tim Cowlishaw: I think [drafting Elliott] is the best way to fix a defense that needs considerable help. Yes, defense. If Elliott arrives and runs behind this line as he would seem capable of doing think DeMarco Murray in 2014 how high a level does this offense reach with the return of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant? And, ultimately, that’s how you go about fixing this defense. You construct an offense that scores 30 points a game and dare opponents to keep up.
Bob Sturm: He is 20 years old and possesses size and athleticism that is phenomenal. But, what really impresses you about Elliott is that he plays the game in a way that demonstrates how much he loves every component of the sport. He does everything and he does it with a commitment that suggests he is a team leader. . The guy can do it all and would be a fantastic addition to any team. Elliott is very young, strong, and healthy and would fill a real need for any team that needs a RB.