A Dallas Cowboys reporter believes rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott could receive up to 300 carries in 2016.
The Dallas Cowboys were without a franchise running back in 2015 when DeMarco Murray left to join the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2014 season. But thanks to a brutal 2015 season, the Cowboys were able to replace that absence and draft Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Elliott may be the most high-profile player to come out of the draft and is expected to be a top running back in the NFL rather soon. He is going to an offense that focuses on the run game, meaning his workload may exceed that of not only other rookie running backs, but other backs around the league.
In a mailbag on DallasCowboys.com, writer David Helman explains how he thinks Elliott will carry the ball a great deal in 2016:
"Fortunately, the Cowboys have vastly superior depth at the position this year. I think Zeke will finish with roughly 280-300 carries, which would put him right around 18-20 per game."
Reaching 300 carries would put him among the top of the NFL in carries in 2016. Adrian Peterson was the only running back to reach that mark in 2015 with 327 carries, while DeMarco Murray and LeSean McCoy reached it in 2014 with 392 and 312 carries respectively.
Murray’s mark of 392 is insane, and far too high for any running back, so the 280-300 range seems reasonable for a back with the NFL-ready build of Elliott.
Getting this many carries also puts him in position to be the league’s leading rusher as a rookie, given his offensive line is healthy and the passing game is there to throw off opposing defenses from having a singular focus on the run game.
Elliott should be able to replace the production that left the offense when Murray made the horrible decision to join the Eagles, which should mean this Cowboys team has a great shot at a division title in 2016.
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