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Dallas Cowboys Player Profile: RB #21 Ezekiel Elliott


Ezekiel Elliott, #21

#21 Ezekiel Elliott

Height: 6-0 Weight: 225 Age: 20
Position: Running Back College: Ohio State
Exp: Rookie

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.

Dallas Cowboys Player Profile: RB #21 Ezekiel Elliott

High School

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.

College/NCAA

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.

NFL Career

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.

Contract Status

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.

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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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Needs: Defensive Tackle

Jess Haynie

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Antwaun Woods, Seahawks

After the Dallas Cowboys gave up 273 rushing yards in last season's playoff loss to the Rams, the defensive tackle position became a greater concern for 2019. It's one of the key spots that Dallas may address in this week's NFL Draft.

It's unfair to allow one game to paint the entire picture. Before going to Los Angeles, things were looking good at DT with solid play from Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods. We weren't even bemoaning the absence of David Irving; the Cowboys' defense had emerged as one of the top groups in the league.

But then Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson ran wild, and now it's left folks wondering if Dallas is going to be able to stand up to the elite teams in the NFL without some better talent in the middle of their defensive line.

Collins and Woods are back in 2019, and veteran Tyrone Crawford should be used more at DT this year now that Robert Quinn here to play defensive end. Dallas also signed free agent Christian Covington from Houston to add to their interior rotation, plus re-signed Daniel Ross for depth.

It's a solid group, but none of these players can claim to be a game-changer at this point. There are high hopes for what Antwaun Woods might be evolving into, but that's hardly guaranteed.

Not only could the Cowboys stand to add more talent to the mix, but they may need to draft someone now in preparation for the future.

Tyrone Crawford

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford

Assuming everyone sticks around in 2019, next year could see a mass exodus from the current DT depth chart. Crawford is likely to be a salary cap casualty while Collins and Covington will be unrestricted free agents.

Even Ross and Woods will technically be free agents, but they will be under the Restricted and Exclusive Rights designations so Dallas can easily keep them if they choose to.

Clearly, though, the Cowboys should be thinking ahead when it comes to their defensive tackles and this draft. And their second-round pick, 58th overall, may give them an opportunity to get better now and find a long-term answer.

True, Dallas has not typically used high picks at the DT position. The third-round pick they spent in Maliek Collins in 2016 was the highest since Willie Blade was a third-round pick in 2001 (Crawford and Jason Hatcher were originally drafted as 3-4 defensive ends).

But this 2019 presents some unique circumstances. Dallas is covered at almost all of their "glamour" positions; it's rare they don't have a crucial need for a WR, CB, DE, or some other position of greater notoriety.

Plus, you could make a case for DT being the most pivotal need on the entire roster. It depends on how you feel about the current talent at safety and tight end, but you could make a case for the interior defensive line needing an upgrade as badly as any spot on the team.

7-Round Cowboys Mock Draft

Clemson Tigers DT Dexter Lawrence (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Because of comparable need at positions like TE and S, the Cowboys aren't going to reach to fill any position. They will only take a player who they feel offers great value.

One guy who could fall to the 58th pick is Dexter Lawrence from Clemson, a mammoth DT at 6'4" and over 340 lbs. He's not only a run-stuffer but has shown the athletic ability to even get into the backfield at times.

It's going to take that kind of player to make Dallas pull the trigger on a DT in the second round. But even if it doesn't happen then, you can expect someone to probably get drafted somewhere in the team's earlier picks.

Because of their 2019 depth, Dallas might also be willing to take a chance on Jeffery Simmons out of Mississippi State. He has an ACL injury from the combine which might cost him most of this year, but Simmons is a first-round talent.

As we saw a few years ago with Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys are willing to take the risk for those kind of players. And Simmons' prognosis isn't nearly as dangerous as Jaylon's was.

However it goes, defensive tackle is certainly a position of need for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys. Despite their history, don't be surprised if they draft one high this weekend.

Draft Likelihood: 90%
Projected Round: 3rd-4th

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: DT is Unlikely at #58

John Williams

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Cowboys Draft Target: Central Florida DT Trysten Hill

The draft needs have been discussed. You've read the mock drafts. The Dallas Cowboys have put their draft board together. Now all that's left to be done is for the Cowboys to go and draft football players.

The NFL Draft will begin on Thursday night, but the Dallas Cowboys won't go on the clock -- unless a dramatic trade up occurs -- until Friday night when the second round begins. There's been a ton of speculation on who the Dallas Cowboys could select when they eventually get their turn to add to their roster.

Positions like safety, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, and cornerback have all mentioned in line with the Cowboys selection at pick 58. Though anything is possible, it's unlikely that the interior defensive line will be the direction the Cowboys go with their second round pick.

You have no further to look than the Dallas Cowboys draft history since 2011 when Head Coach Jason Garrett entered his first draft with the club as their permanent head coach.

Drafted Players Table
Misc Misc Game Game
Rk Year Rnd Pick Player Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Int Sk College/Univ
1 2018 4 116 Dorance Armstrong DE 21 2018 2018 0 0 0 2 15 1 0.5 Kansas
2 2017 1 28 Taco Charlton DE 22 2017 2018 0 0 0 6 27 7 4.0 Michigan
3 2017 7 228 Joey Ivie DT 22 0 0 0 Florida
4 2017 7 246 Jordan Carrell DT 23 0 0 0 Colorado
5 2016 3 67 Maliek Collins DT 21 2016 2018 0 0 3 18 45 39 10.5 Nebraska
6 2016 4 101 Charles Tapper DE 23 2017 2017 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.0 Oklahoma
7 2015 5 163 Ryan Russell DE 23 2015 2017 0 0 0 4 23 6 3.0 Purdue
8 2014 2 34 Demarcus Lawrence DE 22 2014 2018 0 2 3 33 64 47 1 34.0 Boise St.
9 2014 7 231 Ben Gardner DE 24 2014 2014 0 0 0 0 0 Stanford
10 2014 7 251 Ken Bishop DT 23 2014 2015 0 0 0 0 5 0 Northern Illinois
11 2012 3 81 Tyrone Crawford DE 22 2012 2018 0 0 5 31 92 74 22.0 Boise St.
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/24/2019.

Since Jason Garrett took over as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, they have only drafted four defensive tackles. Tyrone Crawford, who was drafted as a 3-4 defensive end in 2012, has been more of a hybrid player. But if we consider him an interior defensive lineman, then the Cowboys have only selected five interior defensive linemen in eight seasons. Only twice did they use a pick higher than the seventh round on an interior defensive lineman. 2012, when they selected Tyrone Crawford in the third round with the 81st pick in the draft. Then in 2016, they took Maliek Collins with the 67th overall pick of the third round.

Every other defensive tackle choice has been in the seventh round. Compare that to the defensive end position. On the EDGE, the Cowboys have selected six players, only one of them being a seventh round pick. Of their six defensive end selections, one was in the first round, two were in the second (Randy Gregory not listed), two were in the fourth, one was in the fifth, and one was in the seventh.

The Cowboys have used picks in just about every round to find their defensive end rotation, but have been reluctant to spend premium picks on a defensive tackle.

Generally, Rod Marinelli gets blamed for the lack of value placed on the interior defensive line, and some of that is true. Since Marinelli became the defensive coordinator in 2014, the Cowboys have only selected three interior defensive linemen. Maliek Collins was the only one of the three not selected in the seventh round.

Every other Rod Marinelli-era defensive tackle addition has been in search of a diamond in the rough. They found it, though temporarily, with David Irving and have apparently done so again with Antwaun Woods. The additions of Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder -- who played on the interior for Matt Patricia's 3-4 defense in Detroit -- seem to be further attempts to find rotational players at a low cost.

This year's NFL Draft has really good depth at defensive tackle. While a lot of the names at the top like Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver have gotten most of the hype, there are players in the third through seventh rounds that could be week one impact players. Whether it's a Trysten Hill, Gerald Willis, Charles Omenihu, or Renell Wren in the second or third, or a Kingsley Keke in the fourth or fifth, the Cowboys will likely have options when attacking the defensive tackle position in the draft.

With a lot of their pre-draft visitors coming at the safety and wide receiver position, it seems much more likely that the team will allocate their second round pick to upgrade one of those position groups. Considering the contracts of Byron Jones and Robert Quinn are up after the 2019 season, it's possible that the Cowboys even look at cornerback or cornerback with the 58th overall pick.

The Cowboys are pretty deep at the defensive tackle position with Antwaun Woods and Christian Covington your primary 1-technique defensive tackles and Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, and Kerry Hyder your primary 3-technique defensive tackles. Unless someone like a Jeffrey Simmons, Dexter Lawrence, or Christian Wilkins falls to them or within striking distance of a trade up, expect the Cowboys to use their first pick in the draft at a different position.


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Final Wishlist For 58th Overall

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Final Wishlist For 58th Overall

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, the shortlist of prospects for the Cowboys to target with their first selection grows narrower and narrower.

Now, when the Cowboys come on the clock Friday night, fans will have a clear idea about which group of players they'd like to see the Cowboys choose from. Will they look for an athletic defensive back with "Swiss-Army Knife" type ability? Or a hard-nosed defensive lineman who can win with effort and power?

Right now, it's all speculation, but here is my personal wishlist for the Dallas Cowboys at 58th overall.

Find Yourself A Safety

Specifically, land either Washington's Taylor Rapp or Virginia's Juan Thornhill. The Cowboys won't be able to control which, if either, is available when they come to the podium, but both would provide their defense with something different.

Taylor Rapp is more of what the Cowboys need right now. He can play strong safety, he can play in the box, and he should be a solid professional and have a nice career. Juan Thornhill, though, is the one I see with a gigantic upside.

His athletic profile puts him in elite category, and his tape is more than good enough to justify a top 50 pick, let alone finding him at 58. Thornhill is the more versatile defensive back, while Rapp fits the "strong safety" prototype much more traditionally.

Either way the Cowboys will be making an excellent selection if they add one of these two players to their roster. Hopefully, they'll be available at the end of round two, but I'm certainly more skeptical about Rapp making it there.

Let's Beef Up The Trenches

This, on my wishlist, means taking either Boston College's Zach Allen or UCF's Trysten Hill.

It would be a bit of reach to grab Hill here, admittedly, but he's a good player that would fill a need of sorts right away. The Cowboys made some moves to help out the interior of their defensive line throughout free agency, but drafting a young gun is never a bad idea. I'd be more comfortable taking him at 90, but certainly won't be mad about it at 58.

While Trysten Hill might be considered a reach at 58, Zach Allen could be a steal. The 6'4" 280 pound defensive end is stout against the run, setting the edge and playing physically against offensive tackles, but he also offers upside as a pass rusher as well. His strength, effort, and heavy hands are impressive both against the run and pass.

You can never have enough talent across the defensive line, and both Zach Allen and Trysten Hill would give the Cowboys just that.


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