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Ezekiel Elliott is the favorite to lead the NFL in rushing this season

No surprise that Zeke comes out on top.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting Connor Williams with the 50th overall pick a few months ago was the acquisition of the final infinity stone for the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. They’re ready to roll.

It would be a dream to run behind these Cowboys. They turned Darren McFadden into the league’s fourth-leading rusher three years ago, for crying out loud. They’re a formula one race car that anybody would love to drive.

Ezekiel Elliott isn’t just any driver, though. He is a world-class, professionally-trained, top-of-the-world operator. We saw just how great the partnership can be during his rookie season when they helped him to more yards than any other running back in the NFL.

Yes, Zeke earned the NFL’s rushing crown as a rookie. I’d tell you it’s quite rare, but Kareem Hunt literally did the exact same just last season. Part of the reason for that though was that Zeke himself was sidelined for six games. Had Elliott played all 16, he’d likely have defended his title. After all, he led the NFL in yards per game with 98.3. Rams running back Todd Gurley was the next closest at 87.

Zeke is the favorite to lead the league in rushing in 2018

With Elliott back in the fold for the entire season this year, he’s regarded quite highly. OddsShark has him with the best odds to earn 2018’s rushing belt.

Ezekiel Elliott +250

Todd Gurley +350

Le’Veon Bell +400

Leonard Fournette +800

Saquon Barkley +1200

Dalvin Cook +1200

Jordan Howard +1300

Kareem Hunt +1400

Melvin Gordon +2000

Devonta Freeman +2500

LeSean McCoy +2800

Jay Ajayi +3300

Alvin Kamara +4000

Derrick Henry +4000

Derrius Guice +6600

These odds are an indicator of more than Ezekiel Elliott’s perceived greatness. This list is an indication of the youth renaissance at the running back position. Of the top 10 listed, only two of them have more than three years of NFL experience (Bell, Freeman). Teams are finding their guys earlier and earlier these days.

Had Zeke played all 16 games last season at the pace he finished on (a stretch, but certainly possible) he would have rushed for 1,573 yards. Considering he ran for 1,631 yards the year before, it definitely feels more than safe that he’ll lead all backs once again in 2018.

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