The expected top picks in this year’s NFL Draft, for the most part, seem pretty standard. A couple of quarterbacks, a couple of offensive linemen, a couple of pass-rushers, a couple of corners – none of this is surprising or controversial.
But then there’s Ezekiel Elliott. The Ohio State running back prospect is without question the top tailback in this year’s draft class. That cannot be argued. Where teams should draft running backs, however, can be.
Is Elliott worthy of an early pick?
“I think he’s one of the best players in the country, without a doubt,” Bleacher Report NFL analyst Matt Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I would take him in the top 10. If I were the Cowboys, I would just draft Ezekiel Elliott and go out there with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and Tony Romo and the best offensive line in football, and now you have a complete three-down running back who can completely change what you’re able to do on offense. You can spell him with Alfred Morris. That looks like a playoff offense, in my opinion.”
In his final two seasons at Ohio State, Elliott rushed 562 times for 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also caught 55 balls for 426 yards (7.8 yards per catch) and played his best when the lights were brightest. In postseason games against Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon and Wisconsin, Elliott ran for 845 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“I know that there’s going to be talk about (drafting) pass-rushers with all the suspensions their guys are facing,” Miller said, referring to Dallas’ Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence. “There’s talk about Jalen Ramsey if he’s there. But Ezekiel Elliott has a chance to change that Dallas offense and kind of go with that old John Elway-Terrell Davis system where you can take pressure off the aging quarterback with a young workhorse at running back.”
Tony Romo, in case you missed it, turned 36 last Thursday.
Either way, Miller firmly believes Elliott is worthy of the No. 4 overall pick.
“I do,” he said. “Yeah, the running back has been devalued, but again, it’s player-by-player. You have to look at their talents. Ezekiel Elliott runs with power. He has breakaway speed. He has great hands. He’s the best blocking back of anyone in this class. He’s as close to can’t-miss as they get, especially when you throw him behind an offensive line that has four Pro Bowlers on it.”