With the NFL Draft just a few days away, we have decided to put out draft profiles for your enjoyment, in case you aren’t familiar with all of these names that will be called on Thursday. We will be covering some of the big names as well as some of the lesser known names that could be called in the first round of the NFL draft. We start with Ezekiel Elliott, the runningback from Ohio State.
To Zeke, or not to Zeke? That is the question. (The correct answer is totally to Zeke).
Of all of the prospects from The Ohio State University, many regard Elliott as the best of the buckeyes. This Missouri native has made a name for himself starting with the last three games of his sophomore season, where he recorded three straight 200+ yard performances en route to winning the Big 10 title, and then the national championship.
Regarded as the most complete running back, Elliott has speed, elusiveness, blocking ability, and is able to catch out of the backfield. He is 6 feet tall, and 225 pounds, but from my personal favorite measurable, the eye-test, Elliott passes it. I’ll be the first to admit that I root against Ohio State (sorry internet I’ll be bias for 2 seconds), but man Elliott was crazy fun to watch. He just exploded through defenses during his years in a buckeye uniform.
With the NFL seemingly going more and more towards a passing league, it appears that the value of a running back is on the decline. While, my immediate argument against that is well look at what Todd Gurley did for the Rams last season, where he borderline carried that team to 6 of its 7 wins. However, it is true, you aren’t going to see a running back get 40 carries a game anymore. Those days are long behind us, however, unless you have either a very elite quarterback or a very elite defense, good luck winning the Super Bowl without a solid run game.
He’s physical when he needs to be, he’s fast and accelerates with a purpose, he can be elusive and swiftly evade defenders in one fluid motion, he can catch, he is the best pass blocking back in this draft, and he loves blowing defenders up.
The first touchdown run illustrates Zeke’s ability to keep up his speed while dodging defenders, and at the same time it displays how great field vision this guy has when the ball is in his hands. The second run, and essentially every one after that, shows how he’s able to play through contact, and keep his balance after taking hits from defenders.
Nothing. Kidding of course, but the knocks against Zeke are few and far between. He loves being physical with defenders and that naturally takes a toll on the longevity of one’s career. He doesn’t run out of bounds, even if the play is clearly over, but hey that’s what made him exciting. I do think that in the NFL, coaches will want him to lay off on allowing himself to be on the receiving end of those big hits, but other than that this Ohio State product has a very complete skill set.
Can Elliot be that last piece of the puzzle for some team to make it over the hill and become a true super bowl contender? Oh absolutely. It just depends on the team. I love the thought of Elliot going to the Dolphins, and giving Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles and Robot-sweatshirt overlord Bill Belichick something else to plan for. I know a lot of teams think highly of Elliot, but sadly they don’t need a running back or don’t want to take one at the position in the draft that they are at. That being said, I think that he will be picked anywhere from 10th to 15th. Regardless of where he gets selected I am sure that he’s going to be a force in the NFL.
Selection: Miami Dolphins, 1st round, 13th overall
Featured Image: In this Nov. 7, 2015, file photo, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, left, stiff-arms Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray during an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)