Ezekiel Elliott vs. The World: Where’s Cowboys Ex Rank Among NFL Free Agents?

The Dallas Cowboys have moved on from Ezekiel Elliott (we think), but given the current guys behind Tony Pollard, Brian Baldinger feels Zeke is still the best option going forward.

Ezekiel Elliott is still without an NFL team after the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with the two-time rushing champ. Set to be a post-June 1 cut, Elliott is still looking for a new place to call home.

For all of the “Zeke to the Cowboys” reunion rumors, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has reported: “Per a league source, Elliott has a couple of options he’s planning to pursue post-draft, and a return to the Cowboys is unlikely.”

But NFL analyst Brian Baldinger thinks that despite the Cowboys’ current running back room, having Zeke back at The Star is what needs to happen for Dallas.

“I don’t know if he’ll (return on a vet minimum to the Cowboys),” Baldinger said on 105.3 The Fan. “I don’t think Zeke will sign any kind of minimum right now as much as he would still enjoy playing in Dallas, but he’s still their best option as a one-two punch as Tony Pollard gets healthy and comes back from his injury. There’s a cost to everything, but not at the cost of what Zeke wanted contract wise.”

With the NFL Draft now over, teams are looking at their rosters and trying to fill holes as rookie mini-camp and then training camp begins. Before we get to Dallas’ on-the-roster choices, who else is out there in “competition” with Zeke?

There are essentially three notable guys who is could be argued might be “on Zeke’s level”: Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette and Kenyan Drake. And then there is another level down, in terms of overall accomplishments. That group is keyed by J.D. McKissic, Marlon Mack. Dontrell Hillard and Royce Freeman.


In terms of “who makes Dallas better?” … it is not a lengthy list.

Maybe that’s why the Cowboys are standing pat for now. For Dallas, having drafted Deuce Vaughn, which is at the very least a feel-good story, some think that the duo of Pollard and Vaughn out of the backfield next season is how the Cowboys will line up.

Vaughn was a beacon of production for Kansas State in his last two seasons, as he surpassed 1,400 rushing yards in both years and totaled 27 rushing touchdowns. He is also more than capable as a receiver when out in space. But … Baldinger thinks there are better ways to go than a Pollard/Vaughn tandem.

“It’s just a lot to ask a guy that’s that size to be anything more than a change of pace back at the NFL level,” Baldinger said of the 5-5, 179-pound Vaughn. “I know he ran through the tackles really well, but he doesn’t have elite speed, he doesn’t really have elite quickness …  You can’t argue with that, it’s just if it’s a Tony Pollard, Deuce Vaughn one-two punch right now at running back, I don’t think anyone fears that at all.”

With Ronald Jones signeda and with Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle as the other options, the Cowboys have enough bodies … but is there enough talent in the room to better Dallas’ 135.2 yards per game from last season (ranked ninth)? That is the question the Cowboys hope they already have the answer to, without having to make another move.

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