I don’t know about you, but I don’t put a lot of stock into much of anything PFF publishes, especially statistics and rankings. But, projecting Ezekiel Elliott rushes for more than 900 yards this season seems like a no-brainer to me. He has after all been the NFL’s leading rusher two out of the last three seasons, and likely would’ve made it three years in a row if not for a questionable suspension.
Ezekiel Elliott definitely has the talent to rush for more than 900 yards, and that’s lowballing him in my opinion. He’s also the focal point of the Cowboys offense with arguably the best offensive line to block for him. There shouldn’t be anything to hold him back, especially since he avoided another suspension from the incident in Las Vegas.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Ezekiel Elliott:
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott sitting atop this list is a product of above-average talent on his part, opportunity, and a Cowboys offensive line that should continue to pave the way for him as they have all throughout his career. Using a Massey-type rating system, we at PFF adjust our play-by-play grading by opponent and rank offensive lines in run blocking. Dallas has finished in the top-six in each of the past three years, and we currently have the team’s front five as the second-best offensive line in the NFL entering the 2019 season. Add that to Elliott’s strong skill set and the bevy of touches he’ll get as the focal point of the Cowboys’ offense, and it’s no surprise our projections have him as the league’s leading rusher this upcoming season. His current 2019 projection is 1,236.6 rushing yards and 8.5 rushing touchdowns.
It’s hard to argue with anything PFF says here about Zeke. The only thing I would disagree with is the amount of yardage and touchdowns he accumulates in 2019. I think he easily surpass 1,200 rushing yards this season. After all, he rushed for more than 1,400 rushing yards last season and that was without Travis Frederick in the lineup. With Frederick set to return, the Cowboys offensive line should be much more effective.
You may be surprised to know though that PFF doesn’t have Ezekiel Elliott out rushing his competitors by that much. They have New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley rushing for 1218.9 rushing yards and 8.2 touchdowns in 2019. If you’re doing the math, that’s just 18 less rushing yards then they predicted for Zeke.
Barkley no doubt has the talent, but he doesn’t have the supporting cast as Zeke does. The Giants offensive line, although improved, still has glaring holes throughout. And, their passing game will likely take a step back without Odell Beckham Jr. who they traded away to the Cleveland Browns. That makes Saquon the focal point for opposing defenses to try to neutralize.
Regardless though, PFF did get something right with these projections. Ezekiel Elliott should be able to hold onto his rushing title in 2019. It’s a small accolade considering the bigger picture, but it could help the Dallas Cowboys finally get back to the promise land. That’s what were all hoping at least.