The regular season in Dallas went better than expected, but the fight is not finished by any means.
When the Dallas Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, they knew they had a good player that would be involved in this offense for years, but even the best minds that know the sport and how difficult it is to be successful early didn’t expect this start to his career. Elliott may have started his career off slow and some even had the thought to say that the pick was a bust and the Cowboys failed with their first-round pick.
We know what the thought is now with that pick and there are three teams that picked ahead of Dallas and 28 teams that picked after Dallas wish they either took him or that the Cowboys would have went another route with that fourth overall pick.
Starting in week three, Elliott truly took over the league and by season’s end he was pushing for the rookie rushing record, a record he would eventually fall short of, but mainly due to lack of playing time as the Cowboys had everything locked up by week 16. In the end, the Cowboys had the NFL’s rushing leader and this is just his first year in the league.
The draft wasn’t over in the first round and the Cowboys found a true gold mine in the fourth round when they selected Dak Prescott. Prescott came into the league as a third string quarterback behind Tony Romo and Kellen Moore, but due to injury to both quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart, Prescott was given his opportunity. This was something that Prescott was not going to take lightly and something that he was used to in his football career.
His high school and college careers both started by injury to the quarterback ahead of him. Both starting quarterbacks in high school and college were lost due to injury and Prescott took the job and never looked back. This has happened yet again to start his pro career, and yet again, Prescott took the opportunity and ran with it. Romo might have been the bigger name at the time, but Prescott didn’t let the job go just by a name. He knew that he could be the starter here in Dallas and that thought has never left the rookie quarterback.
Both Elliott and Prescott now are leading the Cowboys into the playoffs and the next chapter of their rookie book. For them, the job is not over and they are just getting started and it begins this weekend when they taste the playoffs for the first time. Veterans will tell these young players that you can never take things for granted and just because they had the success they did as a rookie, they may not reach it again. Plenty of players have come in as a rookie and reached the furthest they can go, but neither Prescott or Elliott have done that. This is just the beginning of their journey, a journey that we are all lucky enough to witness.
Time to put a stamp on your rookie seasons and get that first playoff victory!