#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.
Is 2019 Wide Receiver Group Best Dak Prescott Has Worked With?
Dak Prescott will be leading the Dallas Cowboys offense for the fourth consecutive year in what has been a very unlikely career. In three seasons, he's led the Cowboys to two NFC East titles and one playoff win. He's done so with quality offenses, starting by a strong offensive line and an elite running back in Ezekiel Elliott. During his career in Dallas he's had some solid receivers, but he hasn't played with a group as strong as the one he'll have in the upcoming 2019 season.
This year's starters will be headlined by Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb. Although there's many other intriguing players to watch at the position, those three are the presumed starting three.
Despite the big debate among fans and analysts, Prescott has been able to win games for this football team. Perhaps his worst came at the beginning of last season, when the team's plan of not having a WR1 backfired terribly.
In the first seven weeks of the 2018 season, Dak averaged only 202 yards per game. In that span he threw for less than 200 yards in four games. Once the team traded for Cooper, that average rose all the way up to 274 yards per game. He threw for less than 200 yards in only one occasion since then.
Michael Gallup is poised for a breakout season after a rookie season in which he improved every week. The Cowboys' 2018 third-round pick didn't get as much playing time at the beginning of the season as he fought for snaps with Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin among others. In the postseason, Gallup caught six passes for 119 yards. He still has a long way to go, but the talent is clearly there.
As for Randall Cobb, many fans have doubts. He's coming in to replace Cole Beasley, who was such an effective slot wide receiver. Cobb's style will likely be different, and although he might not be as good at shaking defenders off as ol' #11, he'll be more of a downfield threat than Beasley.
Comparing this starting group to the ones from prior years, it really seems like the best Dak Prescott has worked with. During his first couple of years in the league, Dak played with a Dez Bryant that (like it or not) wasn't anywhere close to his peak. 2016-2017 Dez wasn't on last year's Amari Cooper's level. Williams had his moments, but wasn't consistent and was well-known as a body-catcher.
This year's group has its question marks, that's for sure. Randall Cobb hasn't played a full season since 2015 due to injuries and Michael Gallup doesn't have a ton of experience and is yet to breakout. Even still, it seems like Prescott will have a great group of pass-catchers to help him lead the Cowboys to another NFC East title. It'll be an interesting fourth year for the young Cowboys quarterback. It's definitely good to see he'll have help.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Offensive Tackle
The Dallas Cowboys appear to be bringing back the same key trip of players at offensive tackle from last year. But with talk that 2019 could be La'el Collins' last season in Dallas, will we see signs that the Cowboys are preparing for future changes in how they handle the position in this year's training camp?
With Tyron Smith as an All-Pro fixture at left tackle, and Cameron Fleming re-signed this offseason to be the swing tackle, the intrigue swirls around Collins and his impending free agency in 2020. If the Cowboys have no intention of paying La'el what he can command on the open market, what might they do now to lay the groundwork for Collins' exit?
Here's a quick look at the projected OT depth chart for 2019 camp:
- Tyron Smith, La'el Collins
- Cam Fleming, Jake Campos
- Mitch Hyatt, Derrick Puni, Brandon Knight
As was just said, the returning top three are locked in to those spots. Campos is a carryover from last year's practice squad, so that experience gives him a potential edge over the three undrafted rookies.
Back to the top, though, and this situation with La'el Collins. If Dallas had Collins locked up for years to come, they would likely only keep the two starters and Fleming as a backup. A fourth OT is unlikely to be active on game days, and they have Guard Connor Williams' college experience as a tackle in case of an emergency.
If the Cowboys are truly thinking that La'el won't be back in 2020, perhaps they use a roster spot now to hang on to a player who they value for depth next year.
This is where undrafted rookie Mitch Hyatt becomes an intriguing figure in this 2019 camp. He comes from a championship college program at Clemson and was projected as a late-round pick this year. Dallas made him a priority free agent signing after the draft.
Of course, Campos, Knight, or Puni have the potential to make some noise as well. But Hyatt would seem to have the most upside of the group, and Dallas might be willing to consider him as a 2020 swing tackle option if he can hit the ground running in camp this year.
Cam Fleming is also going to need to have a strong camp to help the Cowboys' in their strategy. Letting Collins go would be predicated on their comfort level with Fleming as the right tackle next year. If he struggles now, then doesn't get much playing time in the regular season, that would likely shake their confidence.
The final result of all this talk could be that La'el Collins and Dallas actually do figure out a way to continue their relationship. But when the Cowboys drafted Connor McGovern in the third round of this last draft it felt like a future-pointed move, with Collins' projected departure the likely impetus for the investment.
What we may wind up seeing is McGovern taking over at left guard and allowing Connor Williams to replace Collins at tackle. But that's a discussion better saved for next offseason.
You can read more about La'el Collins impending free agency in this recent article by our own Kevin Brady. A few weeks back, I also discussed the idea that Dallas should trade Collins now rather than lose him as a free agent next year.
For now, the offensive tackles in 2019 should have continuity and stability. But if we really pay attention in this training camp and preseason, we may see signs of what the Cowboys are planning to do at the position in the coming years.
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OTHER 2019 CAMP PREVIEWS
Randall Cobb Will Be a Different Slot WR for Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys signing Randall Cobb might just be the most underrated move of their offseason. For less than five million dollars, they got an experienced wide receiver who is only 28 years old. The former Green Bay Packer has had a solid career wearing green and yellow and now gets the chance to play with the Cowboys' colors. But what can we expect from the veteran wideout?
There are some players who are absolute locks to make the 53-man roster and Cobb is one of them. That much is clear. On the depth chart, he probably sits behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, who will likely be the number one and number two receivers, respectively.
With Cole Beasley departing to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, Cobb is expected to take his place as the offense's starting slot receiver. Cowboys Nation knows very well just how good Beasley was at playing in the slot. His ability to shake defenders off was really impressive and his hands were reliable. However, we might see something different from Cobb.
Yes, it all points toward him playing the same position, but don't expect him to be a Beasley 2.0. This is of course, not a bad thing. Something fans consistently complained about Scott Linehan's offense were the short routes receivers had to run. In Cobb's short time with the Cowboys, we're seeing deeper routes even out of the slot position.
Bryan Broaddus from DallasCowboys.com wrote: "the ball to Cobb even playing out of the slot is further down the field. We hadn’t seen that from Cole Beasley and visually it looks different."
This should be exciting for Cowboys fans, specially considering all the positive reviews on new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. What we see from Randall Cobb in 2019 could be very different from what we had seen from Beasley in prior years.
It's also worth mentioning that word is Cobb has quickly developed an important chemistry with his new quarterback, Dak Prescott. Beasley was very important in Prescott's rookie season, when he averaged 52.1 yards per game and accounted for five touchdowns.
While Beasley was an important receiver for Cowboys, he wasn't really known as a team leader. Cowboys reporter Lindsay Cash Draper wrote about Cobb's leadership skills will carry on to the team whether he's doing it intentionally or not. It's always good to have such presences out there on the training field to spark the team.
Randall Cobb won't be this team's #1 guy or anything like that, but he will surely contribute every week. When we look back to this offseason, I believe this signing will look like a great move by the Cowboys' front office.
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