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Consider The Shoes Filled? Joyner Says Ezekiel Elliott Is Better Than Emmitt Smith

Sean Martin

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Ezekiel Elliott

Through seven career games, Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing at 799 yards. The remaining backs in the top five have played one more game than Elliott and still he leads them all. DeMarco Murray, David Johnson, Lamar Miller, and LeGarrette Blount have all manned their team's backfield eight games, compared to Zeke's seven.

Drafting the 21-year old at #4 overall to run behind one of the youngest and most talented offensive lines in football has worked out exactly as planned. It worked so well that Ezekiel Elliott is already drawing comparisons to the greatest RB in the history of the NFL; Emmitt Smith rushed for 17,162 yards in silver and blue, from 1990-2002.

In his career against the Eagles, a long-hated division rival, Smith accrued 2,466 yards in 26 meetings, both numbers securely lead in the Hall of Fame for running back against a single team.

In his first meeting against the Eagles on Sunday night, Zeke Elliott went for just 96 yards, his first game under the century mark since week 2 in Washington. Even still, Elliott has caught the attention of former Philadelphia linebacker Seth Joyner, who already thinks he is better than Smith.

SportsCenter on Twitter

Former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner says Ezekiel Elliott is better than No. 22. (via @SportsRadioWIP)

When the "once every few generations" talent of Ezekiel Elliott was added to the Cowboys' offense, fans everywhere thought back to Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin; the Triplets.

I took this a step further back in July, using Smith's rookie season (1990) translated to the NFL of 2015 in order to project Elliott's potential in 2016. You can read the full article right here, 2016 Triplets: Setting Expectations for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Ezekiel Elliott. The article also includes similar projections for Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.

If you're short on time, though, I projected Elliott would gain 1,327 yards on the ground this season and score 12 touchdowns. At his current average of 114 yards per game, Zeke is on pace for 1,027 in the remaining nine regular season games. That's on top of the 799 yards he already has through the first seven.

Cowboys Headlines - Ezekiel Elliott Is Probably Better Than Emmitt Smith, and the NFC East Is Noticing

Ezekiel Elliott is on track for 1,826 yards as rookie in the National Football League. The rookie rushing record is 1,808. Emmitt Smith ran for 937 yards his rookie season.

Seth Joyner might just be onto something... Putting things in perspective shows just how truly special Ezekiel Elliott has been.

Emmitt Smith himself even projected Elliott's career to be special, just as soon as he received his jersey on the NFL Draft stage. And don't forget, Elliott's #21 jersey is already calling the Hall of Fame home.

Emmitt Smith on Twitter

@jfo1229a he's better

There's no better running back in the NFL. Right now, Ezekiel Elliott is it, and the league is taking notice of this star-studded rookie.

Comment below with your thoughts on Ezekiel Elliott, Emmitt Smith, the first place Dallas Cowboys, or anything else! You can also email me directly anytime at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.

Tell us what you think about "Consider The Shoes Filled? Joyner Says Ezekiel Elliott Is Better Than Emmitt Smith" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    November 2, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I think we can all agree that Zeke has all the makings of a very special back this year and years to come assuming good health. I saw Emmitt over his entire career and they are two different types of backs. But to say Zeke is better than Emmitt??? C’mon Seth you ain’t exactly E.F. Hutton!

  2. Willie Duncan

    November 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Ezekiel Elliott is a good running back but there’s no better running back then Emmitt Smith. Cowboy Nation

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      November 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      This is correct. Smith did say on draft night that Elliott is better than him though, and these numbers show that – if he has the sustainability – he easily could be. Thank you for reading, Willie!

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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