Tonight, in an event that many fans refer to as “Football Christmas”, the Cowboys gave us this answer – drafting running back Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State University with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Elliott is one of the most dynamic running back prospects we have seen come out of college over the past few seasons, thriving in a zone-running scheme with the Buckeyes.
We all know the narrative far too well by now. DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing in 2014 behind this offensive line. Murray departed for the Eagles, and we won’t get into that debacle, leaving Dallas with Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle in the backfield for 2015.
In the end, it was McFadden surviving the season (surprisingly, considering his injury history), as the starter – rushing for the fourth highest total in the league at 1,089 yards.
This essentially proved what was already known, in that the Cowboys’ offensive line can maximize the production of any back that runs behind it. If this holds true in 2016, we can expect a dominant ground game courtesy of rookie Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott can take the Dallas offense to a new level, turning out yards on the ground that will do more than keep Tony Romo ahead of the chains. If Romo stays healthy, he should be able to thrive in a passing game that will see the likes of Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley going against single coverage when Elliott is in the backfield.
These new triplets, if you will, can also allow a Cowboys defense that was starved for turnovers in 2015 stay on the sideline and rest. When they come on the field, it may very well be after a scoring drive capped off by Elliott or Bryant, meaning Marinelli’s guys can get more chances to force turnovers and rush the passer.
Some may say that the Dallas Cowboys overpaid by drafting Elliott with their first top-5 pick since 2003. These may also be the same fans that watch their team go up against the Cowboys, and are faced with the tough task of slowing down the newest sensational running back to sport the silver and blue.
So, join us here at Inside The Star in welcoming Ezekiel Elliott to Cowboys Nation!
Time to have some fun! @EzekielElliott is part of @CowboysNation! #TheStar #CowboysNation ✭
The reaction to @EzekielElliott being picked by the @dallascowboys WELCOME HOME! https://t.co/ygLqo1HepA
Congrats Zeke!! Welcome to the @dallascowboys. Excited to have you in the RB room. We gonna run ’em off the field!