15 Ezekiel Elliott RB 6’0 225 Ohio State
What makes this player NASTY (Strengths): Athletic bloodlines. Prototype size. Muscular build. Big game player. Brings his best vs. the best competition. Finishing speed. Ball security. Keeps the football high and tight to his frame. Holds his top-end speed and has rarely been caught from behind in the open field. Sticks his foot in the dirt and gets vertical on inside zones. Runs with forward lean. Delivers punishment to safeties, LBs and DBs (6-yard run, 1st quarter, Notre Dame ’16). Gets on top of safeties and LBs quickly at the second level due to acceleration. Excellent hand-eye coordination shows up as an outlet on swings and flat routes. Patience. On counter-trey and counter-trap runs, he allows the puller to make contact in the hole before making a decision. Possesses the deft, subtle skips to bounce runs to his left (Penn State í14). Outstanding blocker. He will get all the way up the third level to block safeties. Heís also been a factor lead blocking on strong sweeps; where he’s made highlight film blocks vs. CBs (Notre Dame í16-Fiesta Bowl). Ability to cut block has led to scoring opportunities in the red area (Barnett, TD, Illinois í15). Measures the thigh boards and ankles of moving targets. Identifies and ID’s the most dangerous pass rusher in blitz pick-up.
Weaknesses: Does not always get his hips aligned to strike vs. longer OLB-types even after correctly identifying the man in pass pro (Penn State ’14, Oregon ’15). Suffered a broken thumb in the 2014 fall camp. He hasnít always made the last man miss in open field situations (Daniels, Oregon ’15-national title game). Muffed and lost a punt vs. Virginia Tech in 2015. Underwent surgery on a wrist injury in the fall of 2014 and then again in the winter of 2015 (February). Had an infection in his leg in preparation for the Michigan State game in 2015 and was forced to spend time in the hospital due to pain. Posted just a 32 1/2-inch VJ at the 2016 NFL Combine.
- Earned a four-star ranking from Scout.com after starring in three sports (football, basketball and track & field)
- Won state championships in the 100-meter, 200-meter (22.05), 110-meter high hurdles (13.77) and 300-meter hurdles as a senior
- Named the Missouri Gatorade State Track Athlete of the Year in 2013
- Tallied 50 total touchdowns as a high school senior
- Coached by former NFL QB Gus Frerotte at the prep level
- Father, Stacy, and mother, Dawn, both graduated from the University of Missouri and were standouts on the football and track teams respectively
- 2013: 30 carries for 287 yards (8.7 YPC) and 2 TDs; 3 catches and one TD
- 20 carries for 220 yards and 2 TDs vs. Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship game
- (OFFENSIVE MVP, 2015 Sugar Bowl): 20 carries for 230 yards and 2 TDs vs. Alabama on 1/1/15
- OFFENSIVE MVP, 2015 National Title Game: 36 rushes for 246 yards and 4 TDs vs. Oregon
- 2014: 273 rushes for 1,878 yards (6.9 YPC) and 18 TDs; 28 catches for 220 yards (7.9 YPR)
- 27 rushes for 149 yards and 4 TDs vs. Notre Dame in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl
- 2015 (Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of Year, 1st team All-Big Ten, coaches): 289 rushes for 1,821 yards (6.3 YPC) and 23 TDs; 27 catches for 206 yards (7.6 YPR)
- 15 straight 100-yard games from 2014-15
- 22 career 100-yard games
- Career Stats: 592 carries for 3,961 yards (6.7 YPC) and 43 TDs; 58 catches for 449 yards (7.7 YPR) and one TD
- 2016 NFL Combine: 10 1/4″ hands, 31 1/4″ arms, 4.47 (40-yd), 32 1/2″ VJ, 9’10” BJ
Time to get Nasty…(Our Summary): Elliott’s deceptive stride length and natural power provide a poor man’s version of former All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers, Jets). His light-footed skip steps set up blockers to seal the edge when bouncing runs or provide assistance for his blockers when running inside. He has pop striking defenders in pass pro, but he could stand to match-up more square versus longer pass rush threats. There are few questions regarding toughness, football intelligence or size. Like Tomlinson, he’s very natural catching the football out of the backfield. Elliott projects as a starting running back in Year 1 and his style of play fits gap-schemed styles like the Carolina Panthers employ.
DraftNasty’s Grade: 6.605 (1st Round)
UPDATE: Elliott was picked fourth overall in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. In two seasons in the NFL, he has rushed for 2,614 yards (4.6 YPC) and 22 touchdowns. The 2016 first-team All-Pro selection has also caught 58 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns.