1. Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back
Back in 2016, the Cowboys added Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 overall selection and he quickly became a fan favorite. Zeke ran for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie and likely would have won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award had it not been for teammate Dak Prescott taking the award for himself.
Elliott’s star lost some of its shine in 2017 when he was suspended for six games due to a domestic violence accusation but he continued to run well and ended up convincing the front office to grant him a six-year extension which has been openly mocked since signed — and led to even more criticism when they had to move on from Amari Cooper due to the asinine deal they gave to a running back.
Of course, anyone who follows this team knows Jerry Jones has a soft spot for Elliott and won’t admit he’s not the player he once was. Instead, he makes sure No. 21 sees the field and the coaches have made him happy by allowing Zeke to run in all the short-yardage touchdowns, finishing 2022 with 12.
Even with the high number of touchdowns, Elliott was far from effective this past season. He averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per attempt and had just 876 yards which was also a personal low. For comparison’s sake, he still put up 983 yards in 2017 when he played just 10 games due to suspension.
The only good news in all of this is that Elliott has now been paid $70 million of his contract and the Cowboys can affordably get out of his deal. There are rumors the front office will restructure his deal, which would be a huge mistake since he’s proven it’s time to move on.