Ezekiel Elliott Profile
Ezekiel Elliott was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 4th pick overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He instantly became the biggest fantasy factor in the NFL Draft, at least until the NFL Regular Season begins.
Ezekiel Elliott has a lot to recommend him in a redraft league. He’s a no-brainer #1 overall in any dynasty league rookie draft. Elliott is considered a rare talent at running back and is compared to Todd Gurley, who showed major talent with the St. Louis Rams (now Los Angeles Rams) in 2015.
Dallas Cowboys Running Back
Elliott was the highest skill running back/wide receiver taken in the NFL Draft. He was considered the biggest talent. He goes to a marquee team, and a team many consider to have the best offensive line in football. This should be spectacular to watch, barring injury.
Weight: 225 lbs
40 Time: 4.47
College: Ohio State Buckeyes
Drafted: 1st Round, 4th Pick Overall
Ezekiel Elliott’s College Career
Ezekiel Elliott signed with Ohio State, despite speculation he would sign with the University of Missouri, where his parents attended college. In the 2013, Elliott played behind Carlos Hyde, so he only ran for a little over 250 yards.
The 2014 season showed off Ezekiel Elliott’s talent, as he ran for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns on 273 carries. In the Big Ten Championship game against the Wisconsin Badgers, he ran for 220 yards and 2 TDs, setting up a fateful showdown with Alabama in the National Championship Semifinal game.
Beats Alabama and Oregon State
In the National Championship Semifinal (2015 Sugar Bowl), Ezekiel Elliott rans for 230 yards on 20 carries against No. 1 rated Alabama. His big runs eventually helped the Buckeyes pull off a huge upset, 42-35. He topped that performance with a 246-yard and 4-touchdown game on 36 carries against the Oregon Ducks in the National Championship Game.
Despite the OSU Buckeyes having a disappointing 2015 season (by their standards), Ezekiel Elliott continued the elite performances with 289 carries, 1,821 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Given that he played in one less game and scored 5 more touchdowns in his junior season, Elliott’s 2015 stats might have been more impressive than his 2014 season.
Drafted by Jerry Jones
With the Dallas Cowboys, expect to see Ezekiel Elliott become a big performer early. Many suggest the team will ease their star running back into the lineup, because veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris are on the roster. That ignores Jerry Jones’ track record, as Jones isn’t known for his patience. Jones waived a veteran QB to make way for Quincy Carter in his rookie season, so Jerry’s going to want to see his rookie prize playing soon.
Instead, expect to see Elliott log big minutes early in the Cowboys season. No doubt, Alfred Morris is going to get important carries. Darren McFadden will see time on the field, too, once he returns from an elbow injury (sustained in his home). But Ezekiel Elliott is the present and the future for the Cowboys.
2016 Fantasy Outlook
In redraft leagues, I’ll expect to see him go in the 2nd Round. While that might be too high for a rookie runner that has veterans next to him, the rise of Todd Gurley next year and the fact the Cowboys have a top offensive line is going to make someone draft him quickly.
The second round is probably too high for my taste, but it’s the realistic expectation from most leagues. Someone needing a RB and preferring to go with big upside will take him high.
In keeper and dynasty leagues, no position is too high. Ezekiel Elliott is supposed to be an elite talent behind an elite line. The Cowboys will feature him over the next several years, claiming they are going to “Zeke-Out” the offense. He could be huge.
In the short term, I don’t see Ezekiel Elliott as worthy of a 2nd round pick. His role at OSU was essentially in a Spread Offense, which is a far cry from the Dallas Cowboys’ I-formation offense. This is going to be Elliott’s first time in an I-formation, so there is going to be an adjustment period.
Even more, he’s going to need to pick up the blitz schemes from opposing defenses. For him to be a 3-down running back from the start, he’ll need to prove he’s a good enough blocker to protect Tony Romo on 3rd-and-long.
Tony Romo remains the franchise’s hope for a Super Bowl in the near-future. Romo has a well-documented injury history. He even missed a quarter-of-a-season in the 2013 campaign when the fullback failed to pick up a blitzer.
Ezekiel Elliott Statistics and Updates
The Cowboys are going to be very careful with Tony Romo’s health. If Zeke can’t do the job immediately, they can put veterans like Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden in the mix to protect the franchise — that’s going to hurt Ezekiel Elliott’s numbers in the short term.