In a league where quarterbacks dominate and the broadband market thrives, it’s important not to forget about running workhorses in an attack. Last season, the Dallas Cowboys RB band had a good year. RB1 Ezekiel Elliott played with an injury for most of the season and sometimes looked like a shell of his own. Meanwhile, reserve Tony Pollard had a breakthrough season and gathered talks to get the initial job on Elliott.
While some believe Pollard needs more photos, Elliot was the one at the top of the CBS Sports rankings. Patrick Walker ranked the top 10 defenders for 2022, and the Cowboys starter was above some high-ranking names. Here are the last ten in a row:
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
- Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
- Nick Chub, Cleveland Browns
- Alvin Camara, New Orleans Saints
- Dalwin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
- Austin Eckler, Los Angeles Chargers
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
- David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
This is a pretty impressive company. To be Elliott above Eckler and Jones talk a lot after the off / injury season.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott ranks above Austin Eckler and Aaron Jones in the CBS Sports power rankings
Eckler had 911 yards and a total of 20 touchdowns against much tougher competition than the Cowboys. Elliott had more yards but fewer touchdowns, and many of those yards came from padded stats in the final games of the year against the NFC East easy teams.
Jones certainly didn’t have the Pro Bowl season he had in 2020, but he had more yards of experience and an average yard of play than the Cowboy.
All we continue to hear during this off-season is how Elliott is in the best shape he has been in and that he is running at record speeds and shaking everyone, including his teammates. But is this the classic mirage we always get from coaches before the season? Or can the former player in the first round really have a year of recovery?
Walker seems to think Elliott is sitting on the throne when it comes to Dallas’ backing position.
Despite all the hype surrounding Tony Pollard, a justified nod to the potential of the Cowboys’ backup, this is still Elliott’s throne in Dallas, and for good reason. The former two-time NFL rush champion had a brilliant start to the 2021 season, seeing him as fast, fast and determined as ever, but was amused by an injury in the back half of the season that made many forget what he was doing before. And although the Cowboys had to shut him down for a few games to rest what was later revealed as a torn PCL in his knee, he was still able to play the disease on his way to another season at 1,000 yards (1289 yards from scrimmage) with a total of 12 touchdowns. If he can do all this on a jammed knee, imagine what he can do on two good ones, as he did at the beginning of last season.
It’s true that Elliott still broke 1,000 yards last season despite the injury. This gives us hope for 2022. However, it cannot be stressed enough that many of these yards have been padded in these recent dominant victories against the Eagles and Commanders.
A year ago, when the front office was out in its huge contract, Elliott had something to prove. The hope is that he can prove to the Cowboys Nation that it’s worth all the money that goes into his bank account.