Whether the Dallas Cowboys believe running back Ezekiel Elliott is worth a top 4 pick, we’ll likely find out on Thursday night, when the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft opens in Chicago.
But in the very least, they think he’s a Top 10 pick.
“Yeah, I think he’s worthy of being in the top 10 for sure,” said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, per ESPN Dallas. “Where we ultimately end up with him is still a work in progress. He’s obviously a very quality type player and seems like he’s pretty much universally looked at as a guy who deserves to be in that category.”
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There’s no debating Elliott is a rare talent, but his case is hurt by the devaluation of the running back position in recent years. No running back has been taken in the Top 5 since Trent Richardson went to the Browns with the No. 3 pick in 2012. Reggie Bush is the only other runner to have been taken in the Top 5 in the past 10 years, having gone second overall to the Saints in 2006.
“I think it certainly comes into play,” Jones said. “I think at the end of the day that’s what you measure. You measure what kind of value you’re getting under the cap cause these top picks are a lot less than what they used to be in terms of what they counted toward your cap and you measure it as to what a top player might be making if you had to go out and get him in free agency. So, you know, at the end of the day, obviously, you’ve seen that running back market come back rather than move forward.”