clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cowboys news: Can Ezekiel Elliott win NFL’s MVP in 2018?

New, comments

Your latest Dallas Cowboys news and notes.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Under-the-Radar 2018 NFL MVP Candidates - Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report

Can Zeke win MVP in 2018? Moton names him one of five under-the-radar candidates to take home the prestigious honor next season, though he also mentioned Eli, so take that for what you will.

The Dallas Cowboys will turn to a new chapter without wideout Dez Bryant, but his absence will shine a brighter light on running back Ezekiel Elliott. Don’t expect Hurns, Terrance Williams, Deonte Thompson or rookie Michael Gallup to immediately lift the passing offense as a go-to option.

Hurns, Thompson and Gallup have never caught a pass from quarterback Dak Prescott, so it’ll take time to build chemistry. Williams has been a No. 2-type wideout with ups and downs over the past five seasons.

As the focal point of the offense, Elliott will stand out for another highly productive year similar to his rookie season in which he accumulated 1,994 yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns.

Assuming Elliott plays all 16 games, the Ohio State product should lead the league in rushing yards and push for the top spot in yards from scrimmage.

Is Ezekiel Elliott’s workload a reason to worry about his future? - Bob Sturm, The Athletic DFW (Subscription)

Zeke would have to carry a big workload next season if he were to win MVP honors, obviously, and that is why Sturm is a little worried about 21’s future.

Elliott is surely one of the best players at his position. From that perspective, the Cowboys did not make a mistake at all. But if we circle back to my “generational” objective to the pick, the true test is whether he is a key factor on the Cowboys’ 2023 roster, too. In a best-case (greedy) scenario, he could also be the man in 2025 at the age of 30.

This is an impossibly high bar, but we know that elite cornerbacks and elite pass rushers routinely play well past their 30th birthdays. And since the discussion hinged on the short- and long-term effects of Joey Bosa versus Jalen Ramsey versus Ezekiel Elliott, I spend a lot of time thinking about this topic – which is why I wanted to write this piece in the first place.

That is why I found Elliott’s usage in his first two years interesting. He has averaged nearly 25 touches per game (24.9). While that might not make anyone forget Edgerrin James’ all-time record (27.5 touches in his first two seasons) or even the NFL leader the last two years – (Le’Veon Bell, 27.48), it is higher than literally every other player in the National Football League.

Ranking the Dallas Cowboys Top 10 Offensive Players - Brian Martin, Inside The Star

Is Zeke the best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Cowboys? That’s debatable.

#4 - RB, Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is not only one of the best Dallas Cowboys players, but is arguably one of the best running backs in the entire NFL. He is a true three-down back and is dangerous anytime he has the ball in his hands. He consistently has to run against 8 or 9 man fronts and is still able to pick up chunk yards due to his vision and hard-nosed running. The offense simply isn’t the same without him on the field.

Cowboys release two, workout several including RB Darius Jackson - Patrik Walker, Cowboys247

Will the Cowboys be adding another running back to the backfield? 2016 sixth-rounder Darius Jackson is reportedly working out for Dallas.

According to ESPN insider Todd Archer, linebacker Ed Shockley and wide receiver Malik Earl have both been giving their walking papers, as the team makes room to potentially add new faces to their allowable 90-man roster. They’ve already begun working out several hopefuls, and one is very familiar to the team. Running back Darius Jackson is getting yet another chance at impressing the coaching staff and front office after seeing his stint with the team end in a 2016 release.

Jackson was drafted in the sixth-round that same year out of Eastern Michigan, a high-upside talent that joined a then-crowded running back unit. The Cowboys wanted to make room for veteran Darren McFadden in his return from injury, so Jackson was shown the door. He’d land with the Cleveland Browns and spent time on their injured reserve list with a knee injury before now being released and finding his way back to square one with the team who gave him his first shot at the pro level.

What to watch during Week 2 of Cowboys OTAs, like the two DTs Dallas coaches really like - SportsDay team

What did the SportsDay staff believe was the most eye-opening takeaway from the Cowboys’ first week of OTA’s?

What was the most eye-opening observation from the first session of OTAs?

Moore: The fascination with Tavon Austin and what he can bring to the Cowboys offense is understandable. The anticipation has to do with not only what he’ll do, but how he’ll be used. That being said, what caught my eye in the first OTA we were allowed to observe was Deonte Thompson. The free agent receiver has a gear most players on the field don’t. He was the receiver taking screen passes and blowing by defenders, not Austin. His speed was noticeable for an offense that has been missing that trait.

Is Tavon Austin a WR or a RB? The label doesn’t matter to the Cowboys - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram

Tavon Austin’s versatility will give the Cowboys a lot of options in 2018.

Tavon Austin is listed as a running back on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. That distinction doesn’t matter to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

”Yeah, well, list him as a tight end. I don’t care what they list him as,” Linehan said, jokingly. “Just make sure we’ve got him on the team.”

Austin is viewed as a versatile threat for the Cowboys offense. He can line up outside at wide receiver. He can line up in the backfield. He can do it all.

Cowboys Expecting Assistant Coaches to Make Massive Impact - JJT, NBC DFW

The Cowboys are expecting big things from their newest assistant coaches, Sanjay Lal and Kris Richard.

The two men who might just have the biggest impact on the Cowboys this season aren’t Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

It’s not Sean Lee or DeMarcus Lawrence either.

Actually, the dudes I’m talking about don’t even play.

Their names? Receivers coach Sanjay Lal and passing game defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

Think about it, when is the last time you heard about a pair of assistant coaches, who weren’t coordinators, getting as much hype as the Cowboys’ new duo.

You haven’t.

No one has, but each will have a huge impact on the Cowboys’ season.

Every NFL Team’s Biggest Potential Distraction for 2018 - Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report

How quickly can Dallas get a deal done with Zack Martin?

Dallas Cowboys: Can They Make Zack Martin the NFL’s Highest-Paid O-Lineman

Offensive linemen tend to be overlooked, even when they’re counted among the league’s best. Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin made the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors in each of his first four NFL seasons.

He now wants to be paid.

Dallas has less than $5 million in salary-cap space, according to Spotrac. The team may be better served striking a long-term deal with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who is currently operating under the franchise tag, before addressing Martin’s situation.

Ranking NFL QBs by their 100+ passer rating games delivers some surprising results - OCC, BTB

Our own OCC wrote a great, detailed piece on how the rankings of quarterbacks would look like based on games with a passer rating of 100+. Cowboys fans should like what OCC found.

The table is pre-sorted by the total number of 100+ games. If you sort the table by “100+ games in % of total games started” you’ll see that Aaron Rodgers throws more 100+ rating games than anybody else, and by quite a margin: His rate of 55.6% is almost six points better than the next guy on the list, none other than the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. With 50%, Prescott has the second-highest percentage of 100+ rating games of all NFL QBs, ahead of guys like Russell Wilson (48%), Tom Brady (47%), Drew Brees (47%), and Philip Rivers (45%).

If you judge a QB by the company he keeps, Cowboys fans should be quite happy with Dak Prescott, as he is in pretty good company in this ranking. And he also compares favorably to Tony Romo, who managed a 51.2% 100+ games % in his 127 career starts.

Entering 2018, Rodgers and Prescott are the only NFL QBs at or above the 50% mark. You may not like it, and you may point to all sorts of extenuating factors, but Dak Prescott has put up numbers in his short career that puts him in an elite category with only Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo. Can he maintain his pace? Who knows.

With Jason Witten and Dez Bryant gone, the Cowboys are definitely Dak Prescott’s team now - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Hill writes on Dak’s leadership and how the Cowboys are “his” team now — and he’s ready.

With Jason Witten and Dez Bryant gone, there has been a curiosity among members of the local media about who will fill the leadership void with Dallas Cowboys.

Curiously and more pointedly, it’s not even been a thought among the coaches and players, old and new, at the Cowboys’ world headquarters at the Star in Frisco.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is large and in charge as the face of the franchise. And as the Cowboys head into their second week of OTAs, there is no question that it’s his team now.

There is nobody better positioned to seize control and nobody else the Cowboys would want to do it. More importantly, it just comes naturally for Prescott.