The Dallas Cowboys decided to stay put with the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 draft and selected Ezekiel Elliott, a running back out of Ohio State. The Cowboys running game was dominant in 2014 when DeMarco Murray was the workhorse and the team went 12-4. They may be looking to get back to that formula with Elliott, widely considered the best and most-complete back in the draft. He can run with power and vision, can play a role in the passing game and is an accomplished pass protector. The knock, of course, is that in today's NFL you don't draft running backs this high and the Cowboys have a pretty crowded backfield with Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar. But a player with Elliott's talent, behind an offensive line like Dallas has, could be transcendent.
With this pick the Cowboys are hoping they have a cornerstone piece to build on for the next decade. Even though the team went 4-12 last season, that was mostly due to injuries to key pieces (Tony Romo, Dez Bryant). The thought is that Dallas is a much better team than that and will not be picking this high in the draft again for the foreseeable future. They need to nail this pick - with most observers having Elliott as one of the top-rated players available, the odds are they got what they needed.
The Cowboys needs include defensive line help, a backup quarterback and help in the secondary among other positions. Dallas Could look to trade back up into the first round in order to address one of these needs so stay tuned. In addition, Joey Ickes will be holding a Facebook Live session on our Facebook page, discussing this pick and what Dallas could do later in the draft. You can find our Facebook page here.
The "positional value" arguments typically made to dispute the theory of drafting runners early. He will walk into the locker room of the team that drafts him as one of their best offensive weapons, and will improve that team's running game on day one. He will fit in either a zone or gap running scheme, and will be a productive player. If he is selected by the Cowboys he would combine with the offensive line to give them the premier running game in the NFL, and would be the absolute front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. His ability to play all three downs, convert short yardage runs, and finish drives with touchdowns would provide a lift for the entire team, and help cover up several of the weaknesses on the roster as currently constructed.
BOTTOM LINE - Elite, three-down running back who has the ability to excel in every facet of the game. Elliott has rare combination of size, athleticism, pass-catching and blocking skills and his competitive nature is always bubbling on the surface. While he's had to handle a heavy workload over the last two seasons, Elliot should still come out of the gates as one of the most productive young running backs in the league.
Cowboys draft picks:
(Round-pick in the round-overall pick)
1- 4- 4 Dallas - Ezekiel Elliott
2- 3-34 Dallas
3- 4-67 Dallas
4- 3-101 Dallas
4-37-135 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-14-189 Dallas from Oakland
6-37-212 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-41-216 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-42-217 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)