The Dallas Cowboys are without question a team to keep an eye on over the next few weeks as training camp and preseason action heat up. After last season's incredibly large disappointment, the Cowboys need to bounce back and contend for the NFC East division.
Tony Romo missed the majority of last season due to a broken collarbone on two separate occasions. Dez Bryant also missed most of the season due to a foot injury that he suffered in Week 1. Dallas will be a much more dangerous team with their two offensive superstars back in action, and they have a very good chance to compete for the division title.
Ezekiel Elliott was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. It was a huge upgrade at the running back position, to say the least, and a big step forward for the offense as a whole.
Last season with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Elliott ended up carrying the football 289 times for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate, although he ended up a bit short. Even though he didn't win the award, many believed that he was the best prospect in the entire draft class.
Darren McFadden was the starting running back for the Cowboys last season. He was serviceable, but it was obvious that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys needed to find a better back to take pressure off of Romo.
Just two short years ago, DeMarco Murray was one of the best running backs in the league. He was able to help lead the Cowboys to a trip that landed them in the NFC Divisional round of the NFL playoffs. They lost to the Green Bay Packers in the game that featured the infamous "catch or no catch" question.
All of that being said, Elliott is going to put up superstar-caliber numbers in his rookie season.
Travis Pulver of Sports Information Traders wrote a column about whether Elliott is a worthy pick in the first round of fantasy football drafts. At this point, it may be a bit of a stretch, but it is close.
Jason Garrett is going to feed Elliott a lot of carries throughout the season. He knows that Romo cannot handle the workload that he has had in recent years. Giving Romo as much rest as possible is exactly what the Cowboys need to focus on doing.
There is absolutely nothing holding Elliott back from winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Elliott may not only be one of the top rookie offensive players, there is a strong chance that he will end up being one of the best playmakers in the league as a whole as well.
Dallas may not end up being Super Bowl contenders, but Elliott is going to prove the Cowboys right for drafting him. Jones and company received quite a bit of criticism for taking a running back as high in the draft as they did. They had other needs, but Elliott was the best impact player that was available.
It will be very intriguing to see how Elliott's game transfers to the NFL level. There are still some question marks surrounding the team, but the running back position isn't one of them. Elliott will exceed the expectations that have been set for him and will help lead the Cowboys back to relevance.
Expect to see him become one of the top running backs in the NFL very quickly. He has the skill-set to be an every down back, and the Cowboys will do everything they can to get him involved early and often.
Do you think Ezekiel Elliott will win the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2016? Was drafting Elliott the right move by the Dallas Cowboys? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Gus Ruelas/AP Images]