NFL News: Ezekiel Elliott Praises Cowboys Draft Pick

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott
Wikimedia | Denniscabrams

Sports

The Dallas Cowboys beefed up their offensive line during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the selection of Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith. And their star running back appears happy about it. Ezekiel Elliott recently praised his newest teammate and gave a stamp of approval.

"From everything I'm hearing and seeing it sounds like he's a good fit for our team," the former All-Pro ball carrier told USA Today. "A guy who looks like you can play him at different positions. He looks physical, he looks like he has the type of mentality where he's going to fit in with the guys already in that room.

"I think the pick we made in the first round will help us."

Two Birds, One Stone?

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith
Wikimedia | Jeffrey Beall

Smith, 21, can play both left tackle and left guard. The Cowboys needed an upgrade at left guard, and while left tackle is currently filled in by former All-Pro Tyron Smith, Dallas will eventually need a replacement for the 31-year-old.

Selecting Tyler Smith gives Dallas both an immediate starter at an important position, but also a potential long-term replacement for their franchise left tackle. It provides the team with short and long-term versatility.

A Spark For Elliott?

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott
Wikimedia | Merson

The selection of Smith in the first round may also boost Elliott's production. While the former fourth overall selection did cross the 1000 rushing yard plateau in 2021, he rushed for less than 1000 yards in 2020. This is on the heels of a huge six-year, $90M extension signed in 2019.

Adding to the offensive line should provide Elliott with the means to cause more damage on the ground. And the Cowboys should start to receive a worthwhile return on their mega-investment.

Protecting Dak

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott
Wikimedia | Jeffrey Beall

Elliott brought up another point in regards to how the Tulsa first-round pick. "Just the ability to keep Dak (Prescott) clean, give him the ability to go out there and go through his reads and throw the ball on time to the playmakers we have outside -- that's big."

Keeping Dak Prescott clean in the pocket will also go a long way in not only improving the passing game but allowing Elliott to find more success on the ground. Establishing the passing game as a threat forces defenses to over-commit to the pass, allowing Elliott to work.

Moving Forward

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott eating cereal
Giphy | ESPN

The Cowboys have reinforced their offensive trenches, now and in the future. They've added an immediate interior lineman who can provide running lanes for Elliott as well as keep Prescott upright.

The hope is that Tyler Smith will then move to replace Tyron Smith at left tackle when the future Hall of Famer retires. Dallas has a lot to be happy about, and it seems their star tailback shares that happiness.

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