CLEVELAND -- The Dallas Cowboys have found success offensively from the unlikely tandem of rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Although Elliott was expected to be the workhorse of the offense after going No. 4 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott was a fourth-round pick. And yet, despite the youth, the Cowboys are 6-1 and atop both the East Division and entire NFC heading into today's game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“Over the course of those couple months leading up to the draft, we spent a lot of time with him,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Prescott. “There is certainly a lot to like about what he did at Mississippi State on the field as a three-year starter and really helped solidify them as a really competitive team in the SEC, and he had a lot to do with that.
“The more we got to know him as a person, he was very impressive. Those were the reports that we got from the guys who coached him at the Senior Bowl, the reports we got from everybody at Mississippi State, and then, we got a chance to know him. Just a very impressive young man. Football is very important to him, he works very hard at it, he is smart and he is the kind of guy that we wanted to bring to our team.”
Drafted to add depth at quarterback, Prescott was forced into service because of an injury to Cowboys starter Tony Romo.
Romo has experienced multiple collarbone and back issues throughout his career, and suffered a broken back in a preseason game that knocked him out of action for more than two months.
Prescott has completed 144 of his 221 attempts for 1,773 yards and nine touchdowns against two interceptions, and the pocket has been kept clean by a talented offensive line that has surrendered only 11 sacks in seven games.
“What you try to do is you try to create an environment where everybody makes each other better,” Garrett said. “There is no question that our offensive line really helps to make our skill guys better, not only our quarterback, but our tight end, our receivers and our runners. That is where it starts, winning the line of scrimmage.”
When Prescott is not distributing the ball to his play-making wide receivers and tight end and the Cowboys elect to go to the ground game, Elliott has more than delivered.
In seven starts, Elliott has turned 159 carries into 799 yards and five scores, production the Cowboys expect to continue for a long time.
“There is a lot to like about him,” Garrett said. “We were excited to draft him and excited to bring him to our team. Having said that, it is always a transition for rookies, and he has certainly made the transition very well. He is a complete back, and I think he is getting better and better in all phases of his position each and every week. We are certainly excited to have him on our team.”