Ezekiel Elliott Was a Force of Nature in His Rookie Season

Published on June 1st, 2024 2:36 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Two-Time Rushing Champ - Ezekiel Elliott. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys were a match made in heaven heading into the 2016 season.

The Cowboys had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, so why not add the #1 running back in the draft to the offence?

Sure, there was a bit of trepidation about taking a running back so early in the draft, but Zeke was special and was going to make the Dallas offensive attack much more three-dimensional.


Elliott, who was the favorite to win OROY heading into the season, got off to a slow start in his first regular season game.

In a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants, Elliott rushed for 51 yards on 20 attempts, though he did find the endzone once.

In his second game, Elliott was solid, rushing for 83 yards on 21 attempts.

Again, Elliott managed to find the endzone.

In the third game of his professional career, Elliott broke out.

In a 31-17 win against the Chicago Bears, Elliott rushed for 140 yards on 30 attempts. Elliott was becoming the focal point of the offense and proving that he was worth every bit of the first-round pick that the Cowboys had spent on him.

The breakout would continue, as Elliott would rush for over 100 yards in 4 straight games, including 157 yards against the Green Bay Packers.

Zeke had arrived.


Zeke found the endzone early and often in his rookie season, as he scored 15 touchdowns on the ground and another through the air.

Zeke finished the season with 1,631 rushing yards, 363 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

Despite all of that, Zeke finished second on OROY voting behind his teammate, Dak Prescott, who threw for 23 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the year.


In an unusual twist, Zeke's rookie season on the NFL would be his best, and by a considerable margin.

After dealing with some injury issues in his sophomore season, Zeke would rush for 1,434 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2018.

This would be the second-best season of his career.

Elliott would end up lasting seven years with the Cowboys, before they decide to cut ties with him in favor of Tony Pollard.

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