The Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to become the greatest show on turf. For Big D, Ezekiel Elliott serves as the most vital Cowboy heading to 2020.
Since joining the NFL in 2016, Ezekiel Elliott has accumulated 5,405 rushing yards and an additional 1,619 receiving yards in regular-season mode. The Dallas Cowboys’ rusher has 40 rushing touchdowns to his name and eight receiving scores.
The fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has totaled 1,433 touches in four seasons (including playoffs). The All-Pro running back has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. He turns 25 on July 25. The 2020 season is his fifth in the league.
After earning a new contract to boot the 2019 season, Elliott finished the season with respectable numbers but like many of his other teammates, he fell short of expectations. The 2020 configuration is still central to Elliott, even with new head coach Mike McCarthy leading the way.
The talk of the 2020 Dallas Cowboys thus far has centered around one person: Dak Prescott. But let’s not forget that Elliott is the weaponized MVP for both the offense and defense. For the Dallas Cowboys to match expectations in 2020, Elliott is still the chosen one.
When you compare his 2019 and 2018 seasons, Elliott earned 77 less rushing yards overall, but the averages tell a different story. His average yards per game dropped by nearly 11 yards. However, no. 21 did find the endzone 12 times and finished 2019 with 1,357 rushing yards.
Elliott finished the NFC as the second leading rusher and fourth overall in the NFL. Running back Derrick Henry stole the crown for the Titans with 1,540 rushing yards in 2019.
The Dallas Cowboys have a triplet threat in the receiving core. Names like Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, and now, CeeDee Lamb, should offer a serious threat to opposing defensive coordinators. But don’t forget about Elliott’s value as a catcher.
In four seasons, Elliott has been targeted 243 times, totaling 189 receptions in the regular season. He has eight touchdowns, 1,619 receiving yards, and averaged nearly nine yards per catch for his career.
Overall, he owns a 77.8 catch percentage. To compare, Amari Cooper owns a 61.1 catch percentage for his career.
If Elliott does show signs of slowing down in 2020, the Dallas Cowboys have an insurance policy. Enter fourth-round pick, Tony Pollard, who returns for his sophomore season. In his rookie year, the running back registered a whopping 455 rushing yards in 86 totes, averaging 5.3 yards per rushing attempt.
In total, Pollard touched the ball 101 times in 2019. He concluded the season with three scores (two as a rusher, one as a receiver).
The Dallas Cowboys might promote their triple receiver attack in headlines, but clearly, teams will have to contend with a dual-threat in the backfield as well. The offense is shaping up to be must-see television, but the engine revs up with Ezekiel Elliott.
If Elliott recaptures rushing magic again, the Dallas Cowboys are primed for supremacy. If, on the other hand, Elliott stalls, America’s Team must find another gear elsewhere, which shouldn’t be a problem on this offensive unit. But many will question Elliott’s mega-contract deal if results aren’t established.