Ezekiel Elliott understands his No. 54 ranking from NFL Network, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with it. He thinks he’s a far superior player.
The NFL Network didn’t mean to slight Ezekiel Elliott by ranking him as the 54th best player in the NFL, but the Cowboys running back certainly took it that way. Elliott is looking forward to having a more relaxed and more productive season in 2018.
By the time reporters got a chance to tell Elliott about his ranking, he already knew. He seemed to understand the reasons that contributed to his “low” ranking too. Elliott cited the fact that he missed six games last season as the main factor.
Missing that much time limited Elliott to 983 rushing yards on 242 carries. That isn’t a bad return by any means, but it pales in comparison to what Elliott did as a rookie. His 2016 total of 1,631 yards on 322 carries helped him reach the Pro Bowl. In comparison, his sophomore season was definitely a disappointment.
Elliott and the Cowboys hope that his relatively calm offseason will pay big dividends for him on the field. After a tumultuous summer following his rookie season, he kept things pretty quiet this offseason. Presumably, that has allowed him to focus a lot more of his mental energy on football.
If that results in a rejuvenated player, it gives the Cowboys a much more dynamic offense. Everything for the Cowboys will start with their ability to run the football, though. The team’s massive offensive line has the ability to open holes big enough for Elliott to exploit on a regular basis.
He’ll need to be very productive to give Dak Prescott a chance to be successful as a passer. The Cowboys enter the season with serious questions about their receiving corps. Neither Jason Witten nor Dez Bryant is around to serve as Prescott’s safety blanket any longer. The lack of a true number one receiver is going to put more pressure on Elliott than ever before.
If he can take that added pressure and put up numbers close to his rookie totals, then NFL Network will owe him an apology. Elliott has the talent to rank higher than the 54th best player in the NFL, but it remains to be seen if he can prove it on the field in 2018.