Two years ago, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones desperately wanted to use a first-round pick to obtain quarterback Johnny Manziel. Someone ultimately persuaded Jones to come in from that specific ledge.
This year, it’s widely believed that Jones wants running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the draft. As one source with knowledge of the team’s deliberations tells PFT, the Cowboys are currently “struggling” with whether to take Elliott.
Elliott, who plays a position that has talented players available at every round of the draft and beyond, could instantly give the Cowboys a dangerous running game. Coupled with the team’s already potent passing attack (if quarterback Tony Romo stays healthy), that could help Dallas improve dramatically from last year to this year.
It’s no surprise that Jones would want Elliott. Jones has a much stronger “win now” vibe than others in the organization (such as team executive V.P. and heir to the throne Stephen Jones), who are more likely to take a longer-term view of the situation.
If the Cowboys take Elliott that high, it will create plenty of pressure for the rookie. He welcomes it.
“There will be some pressure because there’s gonna be some high expectations but my whole life I’ve had high expectations,” Elliott recently told PFT Live. “Going to a university that demands competing for a championship every year like Ohio State has created high expectations and I think as an athlete that’s something we look forward to. We look forward to the high expectations, we look forward to proving people wrong and no one would want it easy. Everyone wants something to work for.”
Reminded that being picked that high means he’s expected not to just be great but to be an all-time great, Elliott didn’t flinch.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “That’s the way I was raised to be. To be exceptional at everything, to be excellent and I demand excellence of myself so I wouldn’t say that anyone else’s expectations are more than my own expectations for myself.”
The best expectations for the Cowboys’ pick and the bulk of Thursday night will be to expect the unexpected. Most fans wouldn’t have it any other way.