NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah shared his top five MVP candidates for the 2019 season and guess who made his list?
My top 5 MVP Candidates for 2019— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) July 5, 2019
1) Carson Wentz
2) Patrick Mahomes
3) Saquon Barkley
4) Philip Rivers
5) Ezekiel Elliott
If the Cowboys offense takes off and the team has success, someone from Dallas should be in consideration for MVP. And there are few things working in Zeke’s favor this year.
#1 – A New Offensive Coordinator
Elliott should be able to thrive under Kellen Moore’s new offense, while it’s not an entirely new scheme it’s still going to be centered around the run game. The Cowboys also hope to get Zeke more involved in the passing game and he is one of the best receiving backs in the league. The more touches Zeke gets per game the better Dallas’ record is over the last three season the Cowboys have won 23 games in which Zeke has touched the ball at least twenty times.
Of course, not everyone agrees that Zeke belongs in the conversation.
Ezekiel Elliott isn’t much of a real MVP candidate either. Yes I think he is one of, if not the, best running back in the league. And, yes, I do believe he will put up more monstrous rushing numbers in 2019. But if Todd Gurley wasn’t the MVP in 2017, and Elliott didn’t earn much MVP momentum at all in ‘16 and ‘18, it’s hard to imagine Elliott doing much more to get that recognition this season. This is a quarterback-driven league, and those quarterbacks tend to win these types of awards.
When it comes giving back to the community, Elliott’s already an MVP in our book.
On July 2, Elliott met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the matter and followed the interview with a formal apology and promise to avoid such situations in the future — a declaration that satisfied the league office. They saw no personal conduct violation in the matter, will render no punishment, and Elliott is free to get back to focusing on two things he’s done exceptionally well: Play football and give back to the community.
His latest philanthropy comes by way of returning to his roots in St. Louis to host and participate in a youth football camp that was free to the public, and pulled in approximately 800 children.
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And some day, Zeke may eventually be included with some very good company.
Ezekiel Elliott could very well be on his way to beating out several of these players. He’s already got more rushing yards than Walker, and is just 300 yards behind Barber. Zeke has led the league in rushing both years that he’s played a full season, and led the league during the ten games he played in 2017.
Quarterbacks typically have the advantage when it comes to MVP race, so is it possible another Cowboys player enters the discussion?
Prescott isn’t an easy evaluation. He’s not going to air it out and throw for 40 touchdowns in a single season. The third-year signal-caller has tossed 22 or 23 passes for scores in each of his three terms. With a career average of just 1.4 touchdowns per contest, Prescott’s production shouldn’t warrant a mega-deal. Then again, he’s consistent and doesn’t turn the ball over through the air, logging just 25 interceptions in 48 starts.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott drives the offense. He’s led the league in rushing yards (4,048) since his 2016 rookie season, which was the same year Prescott took over the starting job. The Cowboys signal-caller makes shrewd decisions with the ball, but a top-10 ground attack eases the pass rush and sometimes draws a safety out of coverage and into the box. Don’t confuse Prescott for a quarterback able to propel his team to victory with a pass-heavy attack, though a full season with wideout Amari Cooper should boost the signal-caller’s numbers. Still, stability with a solid passer would keep the Cowboys in playoff contention.
With Elliott entrenched as the team’s workhorse running back, it’s not set in stone who their fullback will be.
3. Ryan Yurachek, Fullback
This one may not be the most exciting position but it’s worth looking at. The Cowboys added Jamize Olawale last season in a trade with the Oakland Raiders and he was their No. 1 fullback. However, the position wasn’t a constant on the field as Olawale started just four of the 16 games and had a total of 131 snaps according to Pro Football Focus.
Even with his limited use, Olawale was brought back on a three-year deal worth $5.4 million. That was a bit surprising, especially given the lack of use for his position. Then again, none of us knows how new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore plans to run his offense. Maybe he does want to use a fullback more and Olawale has shown some ability as a receiver in the past in addition to his blocking skills, which could make him useful as long as they employ him correctly.
With all that being said, there could be some competition for him this season, especially if pass-catching is a priority at the spot for Moore. Dallas made an interesting signing recently when they picked up former Marshall tight end Ryan Yurachek. Yurachek was moved to fullback in college and spent all of 2018 on the Raiders practice squad. He’s an interesting candidate due to his receiving prowess as Yurachek had 143 receptions for 1,354 yards and 26 touchdowns at Marshall. As a senior, he had his best season, pulling in 54 passes for 490 yards and 10 scores. Undersized for a tight end, Yurachek hopes to find a role in the NFL in the backfield. Even with Olawale’s contract, there are no guarantees and Yurachek is a name to watch in camp and the preseason.
Does Amari Cooper have a problem catching passes? It depends on who you ask - Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
One of the few knocks on Cooper is his “drop problem,” but is that justified? Not everything thinks so.
Cooper led the NFL with 18 drops in 2015. Heading into the 2018 season, he had the fourth-worst drop rate among NFL receivers at 13.62 percent. Last season, between Oakland and Dallas, Cooper dropped six passes, tied for 18th-most in the NFL. The Cowboys don’t seem concerned with Cooper’s occasional drops and don’t regard them as a long-term problem.
The Cowboys have a more nuanced way of viewing things. They chart how a receiver uses his hands in catching the ball. Did he catch the ball at its tip? Did the receiver use both hands? Did the receiver use his body to shield the defender in catching the ball? Did the receiver take a pass away from a defender?
Mickey Spagnola over at the Mothership makes his “Mr. Relevant” pick for the upcoming season. Who does he go with?
That’s why my guy this year who must regain top relevancy in the NFL has to be Robert Quinn. Right?
No. 1, that’s why the Cowboys traded for him, giving up a 2020 sixth-round pick to Miami and inked him to a one-year, $8 million salary, with incentives to be made. He was born to rush the passer on the right side.
No. 2, the guy has pedigree, totaling 69 sacks over his eight seasons (seven with the Rams, one with the Dolphins). Why 29½ of those sacks came in two seasons, his 2013-14 Pro Bowl seasons. In fact, he had another 8½ in 2017 for the Rams before they deemed him dispensable while moving to Wade Phillips 3-4 defense last year and trading Quinn away. Still, last year Quinn had 6½ sacks in Miami, but with the Dolphins now moving into a 3-4 and Quinn costing $12.9 million base/roster bonus, he again was deemed dispensable, taking whatever they could get.
No. 3, the Cowboys coaching staff really likes Quinn, and for a guy initially projected to be a designated pass rusher, and again, depending on how he plays when the pads come on – remember All-Frisco Jihad Ward last year – there now are thoughts he can become a three-down right defense end.