3. Ezekiel Elliott, 2016-2022
10,598 yards from scrimmage, 80 total offensive touchdowns
No. 3 All-Time Cowboys Rushing Yardage: 8,262
When the Cowboys let DeMarco Murray leave ahead of the 2015 season, they still found themselves with a 1,000-yard rusher in Darren McFadden. The fact that they still had success on the ground without a premium back made it seem like they would be willing to use a committee approach but that went out the window when they used the fourth overall pick in 2016 on Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott.
As a rookie, he ended up leading the league with 1,631 yards and put up 15 touchdowns as well. The only reason he didn't win the Rookie of the Year award was due to Dak Prescott's play as the two entered the league together.
Elliott then had some off-field issues which led to a suspension in 2017 but in 2018, he again led the league with 1,434 yards. Unfortunately, this was when things began to trend in the wrong direction.
Zeke decided to hold out the following offseason and Dallas then gave him one of the worst extensions known to man. Despite knowing running backs in this era tend to decline after five or six years, the Cowboys gave him a six-year extension on top of the two years he had left. Making it worse, the deal was for an astronomical $90 million and later led to such poor cap space that they had to give Amari Cooper away.
As expected, Elliott declined each season after that and was released following the 2020 campaign when he had a career-low 3.8 yards per carry.
Taking the contract out, Elliott still did a lot of good for Dallas. He's now third in franchise history in both yardage and touchdowns and was always praised for his unselfishness when it came to blocking. Although, he sadly is also going to be remembered for a failed attempt at blocking on his final play when Dallas had him playing center in arguably the worst designed play of all-time.