Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott excelled when it came to facing stacked defensive fronts according to next gen stats.
When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, expectations were sky high. Behind the league’s most dominate offensive line, Elliott was expected to excel in Dallas. And boy, did he deliver!
Elliott lead the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards and 15 scores on the ground. Zeke’s 5.1 yards per attempt was good enough for sixth best in the league. And his touchdown total came in third overall.
And it wasn’t easy as the highly-touted rookie running back faced some stiff competition week-in and week-out, as opposing defenses often stack the box against him to try and stall the Cowboys second ranked rushing offense. But Elliott actually had some of his biggest plays when the odds were not in his favor.
"“…Ezekiel Elliott saw an eight-plus man box on 27.6 percent of his non-red zone carries this season, ninth-highest among running backs with 35-plus attempts, “wrote Next Gen stats guru Matt Harmon on NFL.com. “No running back produced more big plays against stacked fronts than the 2016 fourth-overall pick. “[Elliott] led all running backs in runs of 10-plus yards (12), 15-plus yards (eight) and 20-plus yards (five) when facing eight men in the box.”"
Not only did Elliott find success against eight-plus man fronts, but he gained most of his yardage on first down according to FOX’s Charissa Thompson.
It truly was a memorable season for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did the team find success, ending the regular season with a 13-3 record and getting their best shot at a Super Bowl in years, but they have the best running back in the league playing behind the best offensive line in the league. And the fact that Elliott is only 21-years old means he should have many more seasons like this in Dallas.