Is Ezekiel Elliott set to be the best RB in Cowboys history?

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have had great backs. Is Ezekiel Elliott emerging as the best?

Over the years, we have seen the value of running backs depreciate, yet they can still have a big impact on games. The Dallas Cowboys know this since they have had several great running backs over the years.

Ezekiel Elliott is entering his fifth season in the NFL and has had a sensational career so far. Is he on pace to be the best running back in Dallas Cowboys history?

In figuring out if Zeke is turning out to be the best, we need to compare him to the other notable names. They are Tony Dorsett, DeMarco Murray, Herschel Walker, and Emmitt Smith. What the players did on other teams does not count toward this.

Tony Dorsett

Let’s start with Tony Dorsett who was a Cowboy from 1977 to 1987. In that time, he accumulated 15,468 total yards and 85 touchdowns. The Hall of Famer did play with another team, but it was only one season at the age of 34.

The balk of his career was played in Dallas, and his success there was what got him into Canton. With four Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro season, and one Super Bowl, he was a prominent name during his time in Dallas. Dorsett also had eight 1,000+ rushing yard seasons.

Over his 10 seasons, he averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt. His role in the passing game was pretty good, averaging 350 yards per 16 games.

What Dorsett had a problem with during his career was fumbles He had seven seasons of at least seven fumbles, and led the NFL in fumbles in 1978.

Herschel Walker

At the tail end of Dorsett’s career in Dallas, came fifth-round pick, Herschel Walker. He had two stints in Dallas with the first being from 1986 to midway through 1989, then again from 1996 to 1997. That’s a total of 81 games in a Cowboys uniform.

It is very important to note that during the second stint, Walker was a fullback and was 34 and 35 years old. Also, Dorsett and Walker shared snaps in ’86 and ’87.

Regardless, he managed to be a very effective dual-threat running back. In 81 total games with Dallas, Walker was only a starter in 48 of them. Despite this, he totaled 3,491 yards and 27 touchdowns running, and 2,556 yards and eight touchdowns through the air.

Although he only ran for 1,000+ yards in a season once (1,514 in ’88), he had three seasons of 500+ receiving yards. He also had at least 1,500 total yards in his first three seasons, while leading the NFL in ’87, and in average yards per touch in ’86.

While he was never named a first-team All-Pro, he was a Pro Bowler twice in his career, both with the Cowboys. The running back averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt in his career and averaged 116 yards per game in his first four seasons with the Cowboys.