It’s the offseason, so naturally everybody is spending their time making predictions, All-Pro teams, and debating who will win Rookie of the Year to make the summer days go by faster and the NFL season to come sooner.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com recently published his ‘All-Under 25 Team’. The team is headlined by the likes of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Here is what Harrison wrote on his selection of Zeke to his team:
Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Despite the controversy, Elliott is elite when he’s on the field. Through two seasons, he is averaging 104.6 rush yards per game. His yards per carry went down last year, but he still sports a 4.6 career average -- and he’s scored 25 touchdowns in 25 games.
Now, that is a pretty easy pick. The former Ohio State Buckeyes phenom was the fourth selection of the 2016 NFL Draft and proceeded to lead the entire National Football League in rushing during the Cowboys’ 13-3 campaign. The Cowboys went as Zeke went.
Elliott did not win the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year, but his 1,631 and 15 touchdowns that season, in addition to leading the league in rushing yards per game this past season, makes him a clear choice to be included on this list. After all, Zeke has an argument as the best running back in football.
One omission, though, was at quarterback.
Harrison had many options to choose from at the most important position in the sport, but he ultimately decided on Los Angeles Rams signal caller Jared Goff. His reasoning:
Quarterback: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
What more can you say about Goff’s ascendant 2017 campaign? Throwing for 28 touchdowns against just seven interceptions was the most impressive statistical component. And yes, in case you were wondering, Carson Wentz is indeed already 25.
Carson Wentz is 25, so he was not eligible for this particular team. But, Wentz did not win Rookie of the Year in 2016; Goff didn’t, either; Zeke finished as the runner-up to the award.
It was Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who took home those honors after putting together a historic debut campaign.
Now, that does not matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s interesting to note because there are a lot of people seemingly down on Dak after a sub-par finish to his sophomore campaign. Which is fair. But, it’s not like Goff (or Wentz, for that matter) have put together two successful seasons, either. It just so happens that we tend to remember what happened last the best.
Bleacher Report ranked Dak at 21 in their top-25 under the age of 25. Four quarterbacks were ranked higher — Jameis Winston (20), Marcus Mariota (16), Deshaun Watson (7), and Jared Goff (4).
22. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (24)
A year ago at this time—after guiding Dallas to 13 wins and an NFC East title as a rookie—Prescott likely would have ranked inside the top 10 on this list. However, without Ezekiel Elliott to lean on for part of 2017 (Elliott missed six games), Prescott struggled—he threw nine more interceptions than the season before and saw his passer rating fall by 18.3 points. Prescott’s third season could be a make-or-break one.
Zeke, meanwhile, was ranked at number 6 and number two at his position by B/R.
6. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Even amid the constant distractions last year, Elliott’s per-touch numbers remained solid. He’ll be back to his status as the focal point of the Cowboys offense in 2018. And while there were character concerns last year, no one is questioning Elliott’s ability to bang away between the tackles or wear a defense down.
Provided he stays healthy (and there’s no reason to think he won’t—Elliott’s been remarkably durable), the 22-year-old will top 1,200 yards on the ground this year and again be mentioned among the best tailbacks in the game.
Cowboys fans are hoping that this dynamic duo are able to return to their 2016 form (on and off the field) and help America’s Team clinch a playoff berth in 2018.