All eyes were on Ezekiel Elliott throughout his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. He has been one of the few first-year running backs to seriously challenge Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record, but unfortunately fell a little shy. But, Elliott could still join Dickerson in the record book by becoming one of the few to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
To say that rushing for 2,000 yards in a single NFL season is a difficult task to accomplish is an understatement. To date, only seven running backs in the history of the league have ever accomplished this feat.
(1973) O.J. Simpson 2,003
(1984) Eric Dickerson 2,105
(1997) Barry Sanders 2,053
(1998) Terrell Davis 2,008
(2003) Jamaal Lewis 2,066
(2009) Chris Johnson 2,006
(2012) Adrian Peterson 2,097
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s an impressive group of running backs. All of them already have a bust in the Hall of Fame, with the exception of Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson of course. But, that could be just a matter of time.
Ezekiel Elliott has been pretty impressive so far in his young career, but joining the elite group of 2K rushers is a tall order to ask of him.
Ezekiel Elliott, a.k.a. Zeke, would have to put together a historic season to have a real shot at going over 2,000 rushing yards in a single season. He would have to average a minimum of 5.5 yards per carry and carry the ball an upwards of 360 times. Those of course are just ballpark numbers, but it gives you an idea of what kind of monumental season he would have to put together.
Back in 2016 for example, Elliott averaged 5.1 yards a carry and toted the rock 322 times. He ended up accumulating 1,631 rushing yards, falling a little short of Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record (1,808). Of course, those numbers could have been a little better if the Cowboys coaching staff hadn’t pulled back the reins toward the end of the season to save him for the playoffs.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility Zeke joins the elite group of 2K rushers, but things would probably have to fall into place perfectly. Both he and his offensive line would have to remain healthy for the entire season. He would have to break more long runs and opposing defenses would have to stop stacking the line of scrimmage as often as they do.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe all of the pieces will fall into place. Teams aren’t going to stop stacking the box. Zeke will continue to see eight, nine, and even 10 man fronts on a regular basis, especially if the Cowboys revamped receiving core struggles.
Luckily, that’s not a bad thing. The Dallas Cowboys don’t need Zeke to rush for 2,000 yards. It would be a nice accomplishment for him, but I don’t know if it will make them any more successful as a team or put more W’s in the win column. Another year like he had his rookie season would probably make everybody happy.
So, joining the 2,000 rushing yard club is certainly doable for Ezekiel Elliott, but I doubt that’s his, or the Dallas Cowboys goal heading into the 2018 season and beyond.