In this 2016 NFL Draft profile, we look at the strengths and weaknesses of running back Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State.
Ezekiel Elliott has gained attention since his sophomore season in 2014. Elliott had three back-to-back 200 plus rushing yard games; the National Championship game versus Oregon, the Big Ten Championship Game verses Wisconsin and the Sugar Bowl verses Alabama. Receiving two MVP awards, he finished the season with over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns which, was the second most in Ohio State history.
In 2015, Elliott set out to defend the schools title, and unfortunately failed when Ohio lost at home to Michigan State. Although he spoke negatively about his coaches and teammates in an emotional post-game interview, Elliott apologized and put it behind him; some believe his interview comments could affect his draft outcomes. Regardless, he still had an outstanding junior year finishing a little shy of 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Elliott has the perfect size and foot work for the position; he completed the 40-yard dash in 4.46 and 4.48, very impressive for his size. His ability to keep his eyes and feet coordinated simultaneously shows his level of athleticism to the position.
He doesn’t hesitate; he is programmed to read and understand blocks in an instance. He piggy backs tacklers for a few yards before being stopped, if stopped at all. Elliott barely loses the ball and bullies defenders with ease. He is a three down player who has pass play capabilities that could develop nicely with time.
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He doesn’t have many weaknesses. Well, everyone has weaknesses but, not enough to really affect him in this year’s draft. His running game is better than his receiving as it should be!
But, if he wants to be among the best and be used in third downs, he’s going to have to improve in this area. It looks like he has something there but it’s going to take time to prepare him to be the ultimate dual-threat.
DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Elliott will be drafted early in the first round (5-12 picks) and could possibly be the very first running back taken in the first round of this year’s draft.