(Ezekiel Elliott photos from the Talk of Fame archives)
Talk of Fame Network
Ezekiel Elliott’s reputation has preceded him to the NFL.
Even though the former Ohio State All-America has yet to take a span in the preseason and has been limited in training camp by a hamstring injury, our listeners and readers at the Talk of Fame Network chose him as the likely NFL Rookie of the Year this season.
And it was by a wide margin.
Elliott, the fifth overall choice of the Dallas Cowboys, received 58.9 percent of the vote to easily outdistance Oakland safety Karl Joseph at 14.3 percent. Tampa Bay pass rusher Noah Spence was next at 12.5 percent, with Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Cleveland wide receiver Corey Coleman and St. Louis quarterback Jared Goff all with support in single digits.
In addition to Elliott, Goff (1), Ramsey (4), Joseph (14) and Coleman (15) were all first-round picks. Spence was a second-round pick, the 39th overall choice.
Elliott started two years at Ohio State before deciding to pass up his senior season to turn pro. He became a two-time All-Big Ten selection and the league’s MVP in 2015 when he rushed for 1,821 yards with 23 touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and hit the 100-yard mark in 12 of his 13 games. Now he'll be running behind the best offensive line in the NFL in Dallas.
In 2014 Elliott closed the season with 220 yards and two touchdowns in the Big-Ten title game, 230 yards and two touchdowns in a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, then 246 yards and four touchdowns in the national title game against Oregon. His 6.7 career rushing average is a school record, as are his five career 200-yard rushing games.
Joseph brings a play-making aspect to the back end of an Oakland defense that features pass rusher Khalil Mack at the front end. Spence is an Ohio State transfer who went to Eastern Kentucky and recorded 11 ½ sacks to win Ohio Valley Defensive-Player-of-the-Year acclaim.
(Noah Spence photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers)