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Is Darius Jackson Better Than Ezekiel Elliott?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Is Darius Jackson Better Than Ezekiel Elliott?

It's nearly been four whole months since the 2016 NFL Draft and you may have forgotten that the Dallas Cowboys used not one, but two draft picks on the running back position.

Ezekiel Elliott has received the majority of the hype surrounding the Cowboys draft picks and rightfully so, but the other running back that they drafted in the six round out the Eastern Michigan might just end up being a steal in regards to where he was drafted.

Darius Jackson has all of the qualities that you look for in a running back in the NFL and could very well be just as good as Ezekiel Elliott.

Let's take a look at Jackson and Elliott's last year of college production in 2015 and what they have been able to accomplish during their entire collegiate career.

Darius Jackson 2015 & Career Stats
Att/Rec Yards YPC TDs
Rushing 208 1,078 5.2 14
Career Total 321 1,586 4.9 17
Receiving 21 201 2
Career Total 44 375 4
Ezekiel Elliott 2015 & Career Stats
Att/Rec Yards YPC TDs
Rushing 289 1,821 6.3 23
Career Total 592 3,961 6.7 43
Receiving 27 206 0
Career Total 58 449 1

Let's break down the 2015 season for both Jackson and Elliott first, because comparing career stats between the two players would be unfair considering Elliott received more opportunities than Jackson throughout their college careers.

If you take into consideration that Elliott had 81 more rushing attempts than Jackson, the argument could be made that Jackson's 2015 performance might be a lot more similar to Elliott's. If you think about it, 81 more rushing attempts for Jackson would equal about six more games to improve his statistics if you take into account he is receiving approximately 20 carries a game.

Suddenly, Ezekiel Elliott's 1,821 rushing yards don't seem quite as impressive, especially if you consider the talent that surrounded him at Ohio State.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to discount anything that Ezekiel Elliott was able to accomplish in college. In fact, he had an outstanding collegiate career. What I'm trying to do is shine a little more light on the type of player Darius Jackson is and why the Dallas Cowboys decided to draft him in the six round.

Do you know what Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry, and Darius Jackson had in common in 2015?

All three had the highest percentage of their teams touchdowns scored.

ESPN Stats & Info on Twitter

45: Leonard Fournette accounted for 45.1% of LSU's TD scored (all non-passing TD) in 2015, highest rate in FBS

That's pretty impressive company that Darius Jackson finds himself in. Derrick Henry is the 2015 Heisman winner and Leonard Fournette was not only a Heisman favorite in 2015, but should be one of the favorites to win the Heisman once again in 2016.

The Dallas Cowboys could use as much help as possible with finding the end zone, especially after the disastrous offensive performance they had in 2015.

Darren McFadden might have finished fourth in rushing in the NFL in 2015 with 1,089 rushing yards, but he only managed to score 3 touchdowns. That is definitely an area that could use improvement for the 2016 season.

It has yet to be seen what type of player Darius Jackson can be for the Dallas Cowboys, but it is encouraging to know that he has a nose for the end zone.

Now, is Darius Jackson better than Ezekiel Elliott?

Honestly, as good as I think Darius Jackson can become, I don't think he has a chance to compete with Ezekiel Elliott for the starting running back spot. Elliott is arguably the most complete running back to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson nearly a decade ago.

I'm not even sure that Jackson can outperform Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris to earn more playing time in 2016.

I do however envision Darius Jackson becoming Robin to Ezekiel Elliott's Batman in the future after he has had time to develop his skills further and get accustomed to the speed of the NFL.

It is really going to be interesting to see how Jackson performs in training camp and in preseason games. I'm sure he will receive plenty of opportunities to impress the coaching staff and show us all why the Dallas Cowboys decided to draft him.

Are you excited to see what type of player the Dallas Cowboys have in Darius Jackson?

Please feel free to use the comment section below  to provide your thoughts and opinions on this topic. I really look forward to hearing back from you so that we can discuss this topic further.



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.

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15 Comments
  • Boooo This Man

    Oh stop this.

  • Shawn Pugh

    I coached football for 7 years and I know that it's become a passing league but anyone knows that if you want to throw the ball, you first have to be able to run the ball and I don't see any team with four running backs better than the Cowboys in the NFL!!!

    • Brian Martin

      100% agree with you Shawn.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10153813008003226/ Paul Heckmann

      As much as I like the pick, in no way is Darius better than EzE. When you're comparing stats, you have to take into account a huge variable, the teams that you are facing and the quality of their offense/defense. Playing Big 10 football is a far cry from Mid America Conference

      • Brian Martin

        Thanks for commenting Paul. I don't disagree with anything you said, in fact I probably should've put a little more emphasis on the level competition that both Jackson and Elliott faced in my article. I do however wonder if Darius Jackson and Ezekiel Elliott were to switch places if their statistics would still be a little similar. If Jackson was surrounded with the talent that Ohio State had on offense, would he have similar stats that Elliott had and vice versa? I do believe that Elliott is the better RB, but the point I was trying to make is that Jackson could be a very good RB in the NFL as well.

  • Monte

    If nothing else Jackson is faster than Elliott & that in itself might make a difference. Zeek probably has him beat in hand size though which is important w/ ball security. I don't see the elusiveness of Emmitt out there in any of the runners. Cudos 2 Emmitt he was just plain EXCITING 2 watch!!!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Monte. I think they both are going to make a really good 1-2 combination for years to come.

  • Tyshawn H

    Having Darious Jackson in town with Zeke would make our RB group a bit more dynamic and dangerous for the next few years. Even after D-Mac and Morris go on their way, these two guys will hold it down wonderfully.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Tyshawn. I'm really looking forward to seeing both Darius Jackson and Ezekiel Elliott running behind the Cowboys talented offensive line.

  • Dave

    Nice article,but please don't use titles like that. Wayyyyy to clickbaity

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Dave. I don't usually use titles like that. Usually I try to avoid the clickbaity titles, but I thought this time it was kind of fitting. I wanted to express how Darius Jackson could become a really good RB for the Dallas Cowboys. I think often times we get too caught up in the collegiate programs these players play at and their stats. College production is great, but once you become a professional you have to start all over. Jackson is from a small program, but I think you can be really good in the NFL.

  • Randy Martin

    Brian I have to believe this article is a little tongue in cheek. Elliot to Jackson comparison is Apple's and oranges. Elliot played at Ohio St. While Jackson played at EMU. Get real man!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for coming Randy. I know that Zeke Elliott and Darius Jackson are probably on opposite ends of the spectrum as running backs, but I really think Jackson has a lot that can be developed and help him become a really good RB in the NFL. I don't know if I could say the same thing about Elliott. He is already so well-rounded that I'm not sure if he can become much better. Jackson may never become as good as Elliott, but that's okay. That's why I said he could become Robin to Elliott's Batman in the article.

      • Football Geek

        Brian, I think your article is spot on and agree that Darius has the potential to be better than Elliot. Here are the reasons: 1) Darius is a better athlete- Proday numbers were 4.34- 40, 41' vertical, 11.1 broad, 20- 225 reps, @ 6ft 220 lbs. These numbers if he would have been invited to the combine would have put him in the top 3 of every category. He also could have went pro at baseball. Darius was a 2 sport athlete at EMU. His batting average while playing baseball for EMU's baseball team was 460. 2) The offensive line at EMU is not even in the same conversation as Ohio States. If you look at difference of last years numbers between Elliot and Jackson the difference is Darius created space and Elliot excelled at the space his oline created. 3) Opportunity. Darius has only been on a small stage his whole life. From a small town and small schools. Now he has put himself into a position to have a shot to show what he has done at every level just on a bigger stage. In listening to his interviews this stage is what he was waiting for. Now he has to take advantage of his opportunity.

        • Brian Martin

          Football Geek, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Personally, I can't wait to see what Darius Jackson does in the preseason. I really think he's going to open a lot of eyes and the Cowboys might just have to find some kind of role for him in 2016.

Game Notes

SEA 24, DAL 13: Cowboys Offensive Woes Continue

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Connor Williams, Seahawks
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Inefficient passing and turnovers cost the Dallas Cowboys today, leading to a 24-13 loss to the previously winless Seahawks in Seattle.

Dallas's offense produced just a single field goal by halftime, with Dak Prescott only completing two of his first nine passes for just four yards. He got better as the game went on, but still finished with just 168 passing yards and a single touchdown.

The box score will say Prescott threw two interceptions, but one was a bobbled catch by Michael Gallup. The other was not a good throw, trying to find Blake Jarwin in traffic. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner went up and caused a tipped ball.

Both picks ended up in the hands, and ankle, of Seattle safety Earl Thomas. He drew a taunting penalty for bowing at the Dallas sideline on his second INT, almost as if mocking the team for not giving up enough to trade for him.

Ezekiel Elliott did have a big day on the ground; 127 yards on just 16 carries. It's his first 100-yard game of 2018. But the fact Dallas couldn't capitalize on Zeke's production was just further indication of their offensive dysfunction.

Hurry home, Travis Frederick. Who knew you were our Offensive MVP?

Other Notes

  • While Zeke did have a strong rushing performance, two critical errors were big parts of the Cowboys' loss. An early TD catch was called back because Zeke stepped out of bounds before making the reception. Also, Elliott's fumble in the 4th quarter squandered a strong drive that could have started Dallas' comeback attempt sooner.
  • Dallas' defense looked good early but clearly wore down over time. Seattle RB Chris Carson ground out 102 rushing yards on 32 carries. Russell Wilson took advantage of some miscues in the secondary for two touchdown passes and 192 passing yards.
  • Tyrone Crawford got called for another bogus "roughing the passer" penalty after a clean hit on Wilson early in the game. The NFL has to get this figured out, because it's becoming a bigger eyesore for the league than any amount of kneeling ever did.
  • Tavon Austin got his second touchdown catch this year, the only Cowboy to record a receiving TD so far this year. Tight end Geoff Swaim had five catches for 47 yards, reminding the world that Dallas actually has TEs on their roster.
  • Speaking of which, as Troy Aikman commented on during the game, Rico Gathers was not used in redzone passing situations. Why is Gathers dressing for games and not being utilized in the one situation where he's not a liability?
  • Sean Lee left the game after reaggravating the hamstring injury he suffered last week. It meant more playing time for first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, who reminded you of Lee with how he was getting to the ball. Both finished the game credited with 11 tackles each.
  • Rookie guard Connor Williams continues to struggle when up against powerful defensive tackles. It's not a surprise for a converted college tackle, but growing pains still cost you on game day. Dallas may have to consider starting Joe Looney at guard once Travis Frederick comes back.
  • Kicker Brett Maher went 2/2 today on field goals, including a 50-yarder. He has hit four straight after missing his one attempt against Carolina in Week 1.
  • The rest of the NFC East won their games today. That puts Philly and Washington at 2-1 and now evens up the Cowboys and Giants at 1-2.
  • Dallas returns home next week to host the Detroit Lions, who are currently 0-2. They play the Patriots tonight.



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Game Notes

Why The Seahawks Will Be Looking Into A Mirror Against The Cowboys Sunday

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

For the better part of the last decade one defense has reigned supreme over the NFC. One defense has continually put their offense and team in position to win big games, including a dominant Super Bowl win over one of the more productive offenses in recent memory.

That defense, of course, belonged to the Seattle Seahawks.

With a secondary deemed as the "Legion of Boom" and a defensive line which rotated through Pro Bowl level talent routinely, the Seahawks bolstered one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. A defense which perfectly complimented the physical, run first philosophy their offense lived by.

Players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner will arguably be Hall of Famers one day, and they wreaked havoc on the conference for a strong 3-5 year stretch.

Now, however, things are changing.

Gone are many of the elite players which once bolstered the Seattle defense to top-tier status, and while some big names remain, the talent level simply isn't the same. The Seahawks missed the postseason a year ago, and now sit at 0-2 before their home opener today against the Cowboys.

Their window looks to be closed, while their opponent today is looking to build their defense (and team) in the mold of what once was in Seattle.

Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard has come to Dallas and brought with him a more aggressive defensive philosophy, one which he deployed successfully with the Seahawks. Under Richard the Cowboys are blitzing more often on third down than they have in the past under Rod Marinelli, they're utilizing more single high safety looks, and they are allowing their long and talented corners to do what they do best in coverage.

The Seahawks once leaned on a deep pass rush and long, physical secondary. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

The Seahawks once leaned on a mobile quarterback to make plays with his feet while relying on a strong running game and one of the league's best backs. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie look like they were molded in a 2013-Seahawks lab as cornerbacks, and DeMarcus Lawrence is as productive as any pass rusher those defenses had. Of course, we aren't able to say the Cowboys have the consistent front four depth that those Seattle teams did or that they have the single high safety of Earl Thomas' caliber, but the preliminary pieces are clearly in place.

Today the Cowboys look to improve to 2-1 with a conference road win. But, they also look to bury the Seahawks in the past and take another step towards cementing themselves as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.

It won't happen over night, but anyone can see that the potential is there.



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Player News

Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Sean Martin

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Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.

Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.

Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.

This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.

John Owning on Twitter

Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J

A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.

Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.

The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.

Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.

Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.

The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.

Tell us what you think about "Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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