With the Cowboys snatching the highly-sought after Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, there has been a lot of hype surrounding not only the Cowboys and their selection, but also what Elliott will become.
There’s already been the Hall of Fame predictions, the guessing what records he’ll break, and even comparing him to the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. All of this optimism about Elliott is obviously healthy for the team and fanbase, but there is a catch.
He hasn’t earned the starting job yet.
Alright, let’s be honest. The Cowboys did draft Elliott with the preconceived notion that he would be the franchise running back of the future. They wouldn’t have spent such a valuable pick on a position that wasn’t necessarily a pressing need if they didn’t see something special in the kid.
And I mean come on, who didn’t? There were some who wanted the Cowboys to go with a solid player on defense, such as the linebacker Myles Jack out of UCLA, or the defensive back Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State.
But at the end of the day, it’s tough for a lot of Cowboys fans to complain with the kind of player Dallas selected at number 4, need or not. The point trying to be made here is that although it’s quite obvious to the general public, fans, and the organization that Elliott is going to be the starter, Jerry Jones is making it a point to not name him that very thing day one.
Although this is quite a normal scenario in the NFL, it could reflect a grander scheme this team has to get back to the caliber they were in 2014.
Let’s think about it for a second. Whenever we think about this team playing at their best as of recently, it’s more likely than not when they have something to prove. If we go back to the offseason before the 2014 season, no one expected the Cowboys to do anything. Coming off of the worst defensive performance in franchise history, Tony Romo having a season ending injury, and the third-consecutive 8-8 final season record in 2013, the Cowboys were lucky just to be projected at anything other than last place in the NFC east by any analyst. However, the Cowboys ended up finishing 12-4.
How did they do it?
Although there were plenty of reasons for the finish they had, as with any finish to any NFL season, there was on word in particular.
This is the word that Coach Garrett coined, and the mantra that the team carried with them throughout every second of every game in the 2014 season. It represented the uphill battle that the team had before them. Because of this word, they were humble, and they had a chip on their shoulder.
They had to earn it.
Which is exactly what Jerry Jones is making Elliott do. After the disappointment that the 2015 season was, this has the potential to be hinting at more things to come. And only time will tell, because come September 11, 2016 at 4:25 P.M., the Cowboys will be playing the New York Football Giants, with Elliott leading the charge.
Well…at least we think.