Dallas Cowboys: Top-5 rookie performers of all-time

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No. 4 Dallas Cowboys rookie: Ezekiel Elliott

With the 4th pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected running back Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott out of Ohio State University. With such a high draft pick, the Elliott pick came with much fanfare and an equal amount of scrutiny. A contingent of the fan base and some analysts thought running back Derrick Henry out of Alabama was better. In Hindsight, with their careers seemingly on different trajectories, they may have been right. However, Zeke’s rookie season was easily worth the pick.

During his rookie campaign, all Zeke did was rush for a Cowboys record and league-leading 1,631 yards.  According to Pro Football Reference, he averaged a whopping 108.7 yards per game in only 15 games. You mix in 15 rushing touchdowns to go along with 32 receptions for 363 yards and another touchdown, and you have a dynamic start to his career.

Two years earlier, offensive guard, Zack Martin became the second Cowboys rookie since 1969 to make the All-Pro team. Elliott’s season was undeniable, and he joined David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals on the 2016 All-Pro team. As with Martin, this is no small feat. Also, it can’t be lost that his season would have been even better if he played in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the Cowboys had clinched a playoff birth and the number 1 seed, so they decided to sit him as a precaution.