Dallas Cowboys Draft: Making A Case Against Ezekiel Elliott ⋆
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Dallas Cowboys Draft: Making A Case Against Ezekiel Elliott

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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys Draft: Making A Case Against Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys currently sit at #4 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft because of their disastrous 2015 season and could go several different ways with that selection.

We have heard the names Jalen Ramsey, Joey Bosa, Myles Jack, and Ezekiel Elliott all mocked to the Cowboys. All four players seem to be legitimate candidates to becoming a part of the Cowboys roster in 2016.

Ezekiel Elliott is an interesting name that has been linked to the Cowboys because running backs have been devalued over the past several years and selecting a RB that high would be considered a reach to a lot of people.

The Cowboys have shown an interest in Elliott recently. First, he was put through a private workout with running back coach Gary Brown and then it was announced earlier this week that he would be one of the 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

I for one actually like the idea of the Cowboys drafting Elliott in the first-round, whether it is at #4 overall or in a trade down scenario.

In fact, you can read why I’m all for the Cowboys drafting Elliott here and see for yourself why I believe it’s a plausible selection.

However, I do understand why people are against the Cowboys selecting a running back so high in the draft and I will attempt to explain why.

Like I mentioned earlier, the running back position has been devalued over the past several years and it has been proven that dependable RBs can be found later in the draft, at a much more reasonable price.

The reasoning behind this is that a RB’s shelf life in the NFL isn’t very long due to the physical nature of the position and investing heavily in a RB is considered unwise based on this thinking.

In Elliott’s case, it’s not only the fact that the Cowboys would be investing a premium draft pick in him, but also the money that is guaranteed for selecting a player that high.

For comparison sake, let’s take a look at Amari Cooper’s rookie contract, the #4 overall draft pick in 2015 by the Oakland Raiders.

Cooper signed a four year, $22,663,116 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including a $14,742,226 signing bonus, $22,663,116 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $5,665,779.

That’s quite a bit of money to invest in a player that may never see a second contract with the Cowboys and that’s kind of the goal that most teams have when drafting a player that high in the first-round.

Putting money aside, there’s also the argument that Dallas can put just about any running back behind their talented offensive line and almost guarantee a 1200 yard rusher.

I personally don’t know if I believe this argument or not, but the success that the injury prone Darren McFadden was able to have in 2015 might just be the proof needed to justify this thinking.

In 2015, McFadden rushed for 1089 yards on 239 carries and scored three rushing touchdowns, despite only starting 10 games. Just imagine what he could have accomplished if he started all 16 games.

This is even more impressive considering McFadden isn’t really the best fit as a running back in the zone blocking scheme that the Cowboys use. McFadden is more of a power runner that likes to put his foot in the ground to get downhill.

Another argument against drafting Elliott that has to be considered is the fact that Darren McFadden is returning, as well as Lance Dunbar. The Cowboys also signed veteran RB Alfred Morris during the off-season.

Where exactly will Elliott fit in this RB group?

It is much more likely that the Cowboys add a mid-round running back prospect that can come in and contribute to the RB rotation, than it is drafting Elliott the first round.

So, when the Dallas Cowboys are officially on the clock on April 28 and Ezekiel Elliott is sitting there, they need to remember…CAN’T TOUCH THIS!

MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

Music video by MC Hammer performing U Can’t Touch This.

Where do you stand on the dilemma about drafting or not drafting Ezekiel Elliott with the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to express your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

14 Comments
  • Richard Jones.

    I honestly don't see how people can look at our running game production from last season, compared to the previous season…and be content (keeping in mind, this IS a run-led offence). If we want to give ourselves the best chance to win and have all the added benefits a superior run game brings…we need to draft Zeke. If however, we're happy with a half decent run game….crack on.

    • Brian Martin

      I don't disagree with anything you said. I think a healthy Romo helps the running game by keeping defenses from stacking the box like they did a lot of times last season. Elliott would absolutely be a beast behind their offensive line and I like the idea of drafting him.

    • Bryson Treece

      As Brian also pointed out, having Tony Romo and Dez Bryant on the field and healthy makes a big difference. Murray had that for most of 2014; McFadden, Randle, Dunbar, Turbin, etc. did not have that in 2015. The fact that McFadden averaged over 100 yards a game once he got the start is overlooked too often. Gotta stop taking the best rushing season in decades and thinking it's somehow supposed to be normal… It could be normal, but not with that line, Romo, Dez, and others that are equally as important getting paid today's market value. Though I agree, it would be nice if we didn't have a salary cap to worry about, and Jones could just pay for the best at every position. But the NFL doesn't work that way. So a 1,000 yard running back is pretty damned good. And we added Morris, who – at this point – has as much potential in Dallas as Elliott does with any other team. Trust the process.

      • Brian Martin

        Exactly! Trust the process. I think if they view Elliott as a Adrian Peterson type RB, then they should absolutely draft him in the first round. Otherwise, stick to your board and draft the best player available.

  • Bryson Treece

    I like Elliott as well, but at #4? You sort of touched on it with the Amari Cooper comparison, but the Cowboys clearly do not value the RB position at over $5 mil a year, else they would've kept Murray or gone after Lamar Miller this year. A RB in the first round is going to get that much and the team just doesn't want to pay that much money because McFadden did break 1,000 yards on a limited season and stayed healthy. It's a strong testament to the ability of this offensive line to help a RB be better in Dallas.

    • Brian Martin

      I think the Cowboys letting Murray walk was a combination of age and money, but you're right they have a number in mind that they're willing to pay a RB. The fact that they have met with Elliott on two separate occasions I think proves that they are interested, but I would think it would be only in a trade down scenario. It will be an interesting storyline to keep track of leading up to the draft.

    • GiOjeda

      But Dallas was willing to give Murray $5M/yr. last offseason. If they were willing to keep him @ that amount for an "overused" RB & up there in age why would they not pay that for Elliott who is much younger, faster, quickeR for that same amount. I understand it's a big investment for a RB @ the #4 pick but wouldn't it be a great investment for the next 4 yrs? If he gets too expensive after his rookie contract they can always go after another RB, right? I want them to make a great choice…they have to! If they go defense I'm totally fine with at too. I just hope it's an immediate impact player, starter!

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    I've discussed this at length in private with @Jess Haynie .

    I think there are two schools of thought here:

    1. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in football and thus they SHOULD be doing exactly what they're doing with the runningback position, which is looking for value. The 90's/2000's Denver Broncos did exactly this while running an identical zone blocking scheme.

    2. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in football and thus they SHOULD be trying to leverage that into the greatest run game in football by going after guys like Lamar Miller, Zeke Elliott, etc.

    I align more with the first school of thought, BUT I do think certain situations cannot be overlooked. Is Ezekiel Elliott the next Adrian Peterson? If you were confident in that, I think all bets should/would be off. Yeah, maybe you're trying to find good value at runningback due to your stellar offensive line, but you just don't pass up the next Adrian Peterson because you know teaming up Adrian Peterson (in his prime) with this offensive line would be…. historical…. to say the least.

    To me, it isn't about the cost. It's about what they think Ezekiel Elliott is capable of. If they believe this guy could come in here and lead a historically good ground game, well we've already got good evidence in 2014 of the kind of success this team can achieve. If Zeke Elliott is the difference between the team rushing for 2,000 yards and 2,800 yards next season, you're more than happy to pay him $5 million per year for the next four seasons and in fact you're going to view that as a bargain.

    If Zeke Elliott is not viewed in that way, then yeah, pick #4 is a crazy spot to take him. If he isn't head-over-heels more talented and more productive than Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, there's no point.

    That's my long-winded way of saying I agree with what you guys are saying, but at the same time if this kid goes off and puts down 3 or 4 1,800-yard seasons for someone else we'll absolutely be wishing we could be paying him $5 mil per year instead.

    • Brian Martin

      I don't think I could've said it better myself. It all comes down to what type of RB they believe Elliott could possibly be behind the Cowboys talented offensive line. Is he in that first tier group with the likes of Adrian Peterson and possibly Todd Gurley, or is he just going to be just a step above being average? It basically comes down to how they evaluate him.

    • GiOjeda

      Great, valid points, Zac! These are almost exactly the points I was making with a few friends of mine over some cold ones last weekend. My view is that if Elliott is graded as the next "Peterson" then why the heck not invest in him??? I mean, they've already invested in ,arguably, the best OL so why would you just "settle" for just any FA running back? This is one of the main reasons a great back is needed…to go with best OL. Besides that, it'll help keep this defense off the field & fresh. I totally get that they need to invest on a great, impact pass rusher, CB and/or Safety . If they go that route the player better be a day one starter…for the next decade!

  • kregg HARMS

    hope san fran wants to trade up for qb and take zeke with the 7th pick. a young stud running back that is going to be under contract for 5 years is something the cowboys need. coach garrett is always preaching competition in camp lets put them all out there and see who the best man is!!! it was proven with demarco that a DOMINANT running game "awesome line +STUD back" can control a game and take pressure off the D!!! we found a veteran to fill in behind this line "that is going to be intact for 5 years" so if zeke doesn`t grade out for a second contract we should easily be able to fill that spot for a one year gig again.

    • Brian Martin

      I think if Ezekiel does indeed become a member of the Cowboys it would have to be in a trade down scenario like you mentioned.

  • RJ Ochoa

    Say we traded back in the first… And say the first two picks are RB & WR, when would you want to take which? So basically Zeke and maybe Coleman or Treadwell and maybe Henry?

    Sent from my iPad using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

    • Brian Martin

      If the Cowboys trade back and Ezekiel Elliott is still there I wouldn't even hesitate writing his name down on the draft card. The same goes for Coleman if he's there in the second round. I would also consider Michael Thomas or Sterling Shepard, but I'm higher both of those receivers than a lot of people are.

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