Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Going Back To Tradition

Apr 29, 2016; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys number one draft pick Ezekiel Elliott poses for a photo with owner Jerry Jones at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2016; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys number one draft pick Ezekiel Elliott poses for a photo with owner Jerry Jones at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

 The Dallas Cowboys became America’s Team by thinking outside of the box and making shrewd draft decisions, and they continued it with this year’s draft.

When the rumors started swirling around that the Dallas Cowboys were seriously thinking about drafting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, it appeared to be a smoke screen, or another rumor before the NFL draft.

The Cowboys already had Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, and Lance Dunbar as its running backs, no need to waste a high pick on another running back.

After all, the Cowboys needed to address its porous defense. Leading up to the draft, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa and Florida State’s defensive back Jalen Ramsey were the primary candidates as the Cowboys top pick.

Up until late last week, Bosa’s name all but disappeared, and Ramsey appeared to be the Cowboys primary concern, with some talk of drafting Elliott.

As the draft approached, it became clear there was a two-way race between Elliott and Ramsey as the Cowboys choices, with most draft experts leaning towards Ramsey.

However, on the eve of the draft, talks of the Cowboys drafting Elliott increased, gaining more momentum.

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “with the fourth overall pick of the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State”, Cowboys Nation went wild with excitement, with staff writers and former players joining in on the celebration.

For the first time in a very long time, the Cowboys drafted a talented, game changing offensive threat, a day one starter who is expected to take the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. Elliott has all the tangibles you want in a running back, utilizing great vision, possessing a quick first step to the hole, and good football IQ.

The most impressive part about Elliott is how he constantly picked up blitzes of opposing defenses in college, a rare trait you find in rookies.

Standing 6’0, 225 pounds, Elliott rushed for 3,699 yards, 41 touchdowns and averaged 7.8 yards per carry in two years with the Buckeyes.  The last time the Cowboys drafted a high profile running back of this caliber was back in 1977 when Dallas drafted Heisman Trophy running back Tony Dorsett out of Pittsburgh with the second pick of the draft.

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Then Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm traded up for Dorsett, surrendering three second round picks to the Seattle Seahawks for the services of the future Hall of Famer. It was one of many shrewd moves made by Schramm as the general manager of the Cowboys.

Not only did Dorsett score two touchdowns in his second NFL game, he scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl XII as the Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10 to give legendary head coach Tom Landry his second Lombardi Trophy.

Although the Cowboys didn’t trade up for Elliott, the pick alone is a reminder of how the Cowboys did business back in its heyday when it was winning Super Bowls and constantly playing in NFC championship games.

The Cowboys of 1977 was loaded with Pro Bowlers, finished 11-3 the previous season, won the NFC East, and had been to the playoffs in 10 of the 11 previous seasons. With that success, one could argue the Cowboys didn’t need Dorsett.

Schramm traded for Dorsett because the Cowboys rushing attack was mediocre, with the club’s leading rusher gaining only 542 yards the previous season, despite an 11-3 record. The architect had the foresight to draft a talented back and pulled the trigger on a trade, not resting on the laurels of Dallas’ recent success.

Likewise, current owner/ general manager Jerry Jones recognized the benefits of drafting Elliott, regardless of McFadden rushing for a 1,00o yards and the free agent signing of Morris. Jones is aware of the injury-prone history of McFadden and Dunbar, and Morris is not far from the age of 30, the dreaded age for running backs.

Knowing the the first two picks were going to be quarterbacks, and the third pick a defensive player, Jones knew Elliott was there for the taking, the easiest pick the former oilman could ever make.

The Cowboys owner sees Elliott as the future workhorse, the next version of Dorsett and Emmitt Smith. Like his predecessors, Jones is hoping the gifted Elliott can lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys took a risk and drafted ultra-talented linebacker Jaylon Smith out of Notre Dame in the second round. Smith tore his ACL and LCL in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State, but Dallas’ head physician, Dr. Dan Cooper, performed the surgery, giving the Cowboys an edge in the prognosis of Smith’s recovery.

Smith is not projected to play in 2016; however, the Cowboys got the biggest steal in the draft.

To those who forgot or weren’t aware, Smith was a top-five talent, considered to be one of the best linebackers in the draft, along with Myles Jack out of UCLA. Depending on your preference, some experts rated Smith as the best defensive player in the draft.

If Smith becomes the elite defensive stud everyone believes him to be, combined with the running ability of Elliott, the Cowboys will have drafted two of the best players in the 2016 draft, something this storied franchise hasn’t done since its Super Bowl years.

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Just like Schramm envisioned Dorsett leading the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory, Jones dreams of Elliott and Smith helping him hoist that Lombardi trophy one more time.

The super duo will do just that!