#21 Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott was born on July 22, 1995 in Alton, Illinois. Ezekiel Elliott is an NFL running back for the Dallas Cowboys and was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played collegiately at Ohio State University where he earned All-American honors in 2015.
Ezekiel Elliott attended high school at John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri. Even though John Burroughs School was known more for their academics, Elliott was a standout player in several sports, including football, baseball, track, and basketball.
Ezekiel Elliott was a standout track and field athlete and was a state qualifier in different sprinting and hurtling events. He won four state championships at the Missouri Class 3 state championships and was amazingly able to accomplish this in just 2 ½ hours. He recorded his career best times in the 100-meter dash (10.95 seconds), the 200-meter dash (22.05 seconds), 110-meter high hurdles (13.77 seconds), and the 300-meter hurdles (37.52 seconds). He was named the Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year in the state of Missouri because of his accomplishments.
Elliott played running back for the John Burroughs Bombers football team, and as a junior in 2012 was named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,802 yards and scoring 34 touchdowns. He also caught 23 passes for 401 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns.
In his senior year, Ezekiel Elliott accumulated 3,061 all-purpose yards and 50 total touchdowns, including 2,155 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns. In his high school career he led the Bombers to three straight title games, but they lost all three. He also played in the U.S. Army All-American game and became the unofficial poster boy for the event.
Ezekiel Elliott was considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com coming out of high school and was listed as the #9 running back in the nation in 2013. 247Sports.com had Elliott rated as the fourth best running back.
Despite the fact that both of his parents were student athletes and attended the University of Missouri, Ezekiel Elliott decided to become an Ohio State Buckeye.
As a true freshman in 2013, Ezekiel Elliott saw action 11 games playing behind future second round draft pick and Big Ten Running Back of the Year, Carlos Hyde. He carried the ball 30 times for 262 rushing yards. He also averaged 8.7 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.
Elliott became the starter as a sophomore in 2014 and ran for 1,878 yards on 273 rushing attempts. Elliott’s 1,878 rushing yards was second-most in school history, second only to Eddie George’s 1,927 rushing yards back in 1995. Ezekiel Elliott also had 28 receptions for 228 receiving yards. He won the James E Sullivan Award, Archie Griffin Award, and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team. Ezekiel Elliott became only the third Buckeye to top 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season.
As a junior in 2015, Elliott rushed for 1,821 yards and scored 23 touchdowns on just 289 rushing attempts. He also added 27 receptions for 206 receiving yards. He ended up finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting, but won plenty of other awards.
- Big Ten Offensive Player
- Running Back of the Year
- First Team All-Big Ten
- Won Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Award as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player (only the 18th Buckeye to ever win it)
- AP and FWAA second-team All-American
- Maxwell Award semifinalist
Ezekiel Elliott finished his career at Ohio State second in career rushing yards, behind Archie Griffin (5,589) and ahead of Eddie George (3,768), with 3,961 rushing yards. He will be remembered as one of the best running backs in Ohio State history.
2016 NFL Draft
Ezekiel Elliott didn’t have to wait long to hear his name announced in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Dallas Cowboys held the 4th overall draft pick and didn’t hesitate to write his name down on the draft card.
The running back position has been devalued somewhat over the past several years, but Elliott’s production in college and the fact that there really aren’t any holes in his game makes him a surefire day one starter for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys could have decided to go defense in the first round, but the the pairing of Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys’ young and dominant offensive line was too much of a temptation to pass up.
Ezekiel Elliott was the highest drafted running back since Trent Richardson, when he was drafted third overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Ezekiel Elliott’s professional career has yet to kick off, but there are a lot of high hopes from fans and people within the Cowboys organization who believe that big things are ahead of him in the NFL.
Elliott is already the “unofficial” favorite to win Rookie of the Year and a lot of that can be attributed to not only his talents as a running back, but the fact that he will be running behind the Cowboys’ dominant offensive line.
Predictions aside, Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best all-around running backs to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson, and there are a lot of high expectations being placed on his arrival in Dallas.
Ezekiel Elliott signed a four-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $24,956,338 and will make an average of $6,239,085 per season, which makes him the ninth highest paid running back out of 200 running backs in the NFL. Elliott also received a $16.35 million signing bonus.
Elliott’s base salary as a rookie in 2016 will be $450,000 and his cap number will be $4,537,516. In 2017, his base salary will be $1,584,379 and his cap number will be $5,671,895. His 2018 base salary will be $2,718,758 and his cap number will be $2,806,274. In his final year of his rookie contract his base salary will be $3,853,137 and his cap number will be $7,940,653.
The Dallas Cowboys will then have to decide whether they want to pick up his fifth year option or offer him a long-term contract.
Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?
A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.
The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.
Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.
These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.
One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.
Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.
Should a veteran TE be an option?
This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.
Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.
The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.
Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.
There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.
We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback
Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.
Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.
That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.
It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.
Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.
Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.
If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.
Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.
However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.
Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.
While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.
If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.
If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.
More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.
With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.
Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.
Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.
Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.
We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.
This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.
After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.
Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.
With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.
At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.
With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Will Cowboys OT La’el Collins Be a 2019 Salary Cap Casualty?
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
3 Free Agent Targets for the Dallas Cowboys Offense
Player News2 weeks ago
A Lot Had to Happen for Amari Cooper to Join the Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
2019 Player Watch: Cowboys Should Keep an eye on Kyle Rudolph’s Situation
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Will Cowboys S Jeff Heath Be a 2019 Salary Cap Casualty?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Will Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Be a 2019 Salary Cap Casualty?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
5 Pre-draft Moves Cowboys Should Consider Making in Free Agency
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Uncertainties Surrounding The Cowboys Offseason