NFL analyst: How Ezekiel Elliott is like Kawhi Leonard

An NFL insider believes the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott is like this NBA champion

The starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott, put everyone on notice this past week. That after there was some speculation about where Zeke ranks among the league’s top runners. Elliott’s response? Check the stats.

In four years, Elliott has posted three 1,000-yard seasons and earned two rushing titles. Last season, Zeke recorded a total of 1,777 offensive yards and 14 touchdowns. And still, many believed he had a down season despite those impressive numbers.

That likely has to do more with the Cowboys’ disappointing 8-8 season-ending record and the fact Elliott only posted four runs of 20 yards or more in 2019. But the fact Zeke still rushed for 4.5 yards per carry without the benefit of those longer runs is actually impressive.

One NFL insider explained this perfectly by comparing the three-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro running back to a two-time NBA champion and finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. Here’s what former scout turned NFL analyst Bucky Brooks had to say about Elliott in a recent article on NFL.com about giving Zeke his due.

“Saquon Barkley and others have followed the James Harden model as three-point shooters with ‘boom or bust’ stat lines, while Elliott has torched opponents with a flurry of mid-range jumpers like Kawhi Leonard. Although his game is not always flashy or full of pizzazz, it’s effective and teams can win championships with a steady producer like No. 21 leading the way.”

Obviously, the stark difference between Elliott and Leonard are those championships, as the Cowboys have made the playoffs twice during Zeke’s career, winning a single postseason game, and never making it past the divisional round.

Yet, Elliott has surely done his part. Having already rushed for 5,405 yards and 40 touchdowns while entering his fifth season in the NFL, Zeke is already fourth on the Cowboys’ all-time rushing leader list.

Elliott should pass Don Perkins in 2020, who currently sits at third with 6,217 career rushing yards along with 42 rushing touchdowns. But Zeke has quite aways to go to eclipse the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, former Cowboys’ running back Emmitt Smith, who recorded an amazing 17,162 rushing yards during his 15-year career.

Twenty years from now, no one will remember who the rushing leader for the 2020 NFL season was. But they will remember who won the Super Bowl. So, regardless of any meaningless rankings, Ezekiel Elliott’s career will likely be remembered more for the championships (or lack thereof) than his stats.

Kawhi Leonard already has his legacy secured in that department. Zeke, you got next.