Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliot is entering his seventh season in the league, and while he’s been productive in the lone star state, he’s yet to recapture the success of his rookie year.
After getting drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Elliot took the football world by storm – and proved he was worth the high pick – when he led the league with 322 rushing attempts and 1,631 rushing yards, averaging 108.7 per game.
In the years since then, and leading up to 2022, he’s averaged 78.8 yards per game. A big part of that is the nagging injuries he’s dealt with, including multiple hamstring strains, a calf contusion, bruised ribs, and – most notably – a partial PCL tear in a 143 yard performance during Week 4 of the 2021 season.
Despite the injury, Elliot managed to avoid missing any games, but his numbers did suffer. He put up another 100+ yard game in Week 5, but never eclipsed that total again. His next highest rushing yard total came in Week 17, when he tallied 87 yards.
Overall, his 2021 left something to be desired, though he did finish as RB6 which proved he was still worth an early round pick. When it comes to efficiency metrics, Elliot finished with a 2.5% big run rate, which ranked near the bottom of qualified rushers. His 4.1 true yards per carry average ranked #39 among running backs and his 2.28 yards created per touch ranked #44. Elliot managed to maintain his elusive capabilities as well as his above average catching skills. He finished #10 among RBs with both 74 evaded tackles and a 65.9-percent snap share. In the passing game, Elliot caught 47 of the 65 passes thrown his way with only three drops.
Health & Draft Analysis – Elliot isn’t the running back he once was, but he still possesses above average talent and plays for a team that wants to get the most out of him. There is no doubt he will get his fair of touches, especially in the red zone, where he was most effective in 2021. His health will be a concern (18% IRC), but he still offers plenty at the position. I would take him in the 3rd or 4th rounds, but he should be paired with a younger back.