Where should Ezekiel Elliott rank among the NFL’s best running backs?

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Comparisons (10-6)

How does Ezekiel Elliott stack up against those top names? Well, he is already given very high praise for ranking third in the NFL. Let’s start from the bottom up.

When comparing Zeke to Bell, you see that Zeke has been a much better rusher than Bell since the 2016 season. Bell did skip the 2018 season, but regardless Zeke runs away, yet Bell wins as a receiver.

You can say maybe it is a bad system in New York or it was a great system it Pittsburgh, but he didn’t look even close to as dynamic as he usually does. Had Bell not had such a poor 2019 season maybe it would be closer, but Zeke runs away with this one.

Jacobs had a really good rookie season, but only had 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns total. The only time Zeke had less than that was when he had 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games. The next closest is 1,777 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019, so yeah Zeke easily wins this one.

At only 23-years-old, Mixon has a ton of potential and is already a great player. He has yet to eclipse 300 receiving yards or 1,200 rushing yards, but you can look at the offensive line as having a role in that. Maybe with quarterback Joe Burrow things can change, but Zeke kills it for now.

Nick Chubb finished the 2019 season second in rushing yards with 1,494 yards. Averaging 5.0+ yards per rushing attempt is very hard to accomplish, nevermind twice, something Zeke only did once. Both backs have great offensive lines and can break tackles.

As rushers, they are very similar, but where they are different is in the passing game. Zeke’s ability to make a decent impact on the passing game yet still dominate running the ball is what makes him the better overall player.

Dalvin Cook has had his trouble with injuries over the past three seasons but has been very productive when healthy. His speed and quickness helped him average 4.5+ yards per rush in each of his three seasons as a pro.

The 2019 season saw Cook emerge as a dual-threat as he caught 53 passes for 519 yards, while also running for 1,135 yards in only 14 games. The health concerns are what keeps Cook as low as he is. A healthy 2020 season can have him compete with Zeke, but not yet.