CLEVELAND -- Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has picked up in the National Football League where he left off at The Ohio State University back in January, running over, around and through defenders on his way up the field and into the end zone.
In seven starts, Elliott has turned 159 carries into 799 yards and five scores for a Cowboys team off to a 6-1 start and leading both the East Division and the National Football Conference despite having a first-year backfield with Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott.
“He is good,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He is really good. Obviously, I followed his career at Ohio State and he was part of the draft, but he is a tremendous football player. He is doing well for them, obviously. He is one of the best runners in the league right now and deservingly so. He is a high draft pick playing with a good offensive line, so I would expect nothing less than that.”
Elliott was the No. 4 overall pick of the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft after a standout career with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The 6-foot, 225-pound running back rushed for 3,961 yards and 43 touchdowns on 592 carries in his three years at Ohio State.
After leading the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2014, Elliott followed up his MVP performance with an 1,821-yard, 23-touchdown season in 2015. Elliott surpassed the 100-yard mark in all but one of the Buckeyes’ games last year, led by the 274 he gained at Indiana and the 214 he posted in a 42-13 road win over Michigan.
During the run to the National Championship in his sophomore season, Elliott rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns in a 59-0 win over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 6, and followed it up with 230 yards and two scores in the win over Alabama.
Elliott was the first running back of the season to have 100 or more yards against the Crimson Tide in 2014, and surpassed the century mark in the first half. He was the first rusher to gain at least 200 yards against Alabama since Auburn's Carnell “Cadillac” Williams accomplished the feat in the 2003 Iron Bowl.
Then, Elliott rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns, both Ohio State bowl records, in the victory over the favored Oregon Ducks on 36 carries, his highest individual game workload of the season.
After gaining just 134 yards in his first two games with the Cowboys, Elliott gained at least 134 yards over four straight contests. Following a bye week break, Elliott ran for 96 yards and turned a career-best four catches into 52 yards in a 29-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium last Sunday.
“He has real contact balance,” Jackson said. “When people are hitting, he does not go down. He is very strong, a strong runner. He is faster than I think people think he is. He is very strong. He plays the game that way, and I think he has a burning desire to be really good. I know my time visiting with him that is what I found. He is very engaging that way, and I think he wants to be good too, and he is on a good team.”