Dallas Cowboys first round pick Ezekiel Elliott knew the jump from Ohio State to the NFL would be a big one, but he didn’t really see it firsthand until his first day of organized team activities (OTAs) last week at Valley Ranch, when he was left just a little bit taken aback by the pace of play on the next level.
“Just a lot faster pace,” Elliott told the team’s official website. “The game moves so much faster.”
This is no great surprise, of course, certainly not to head coach Jason Garrett, who points out that these rookies are challenged to take a warehouse of information in the film and meeting rooms and then apply it outside on the practice field—where they’re competing against guys who are well used to the speed of the pro game.
“I think the other thing is just simply the tempo,” Garrett said. “We do things quickly. We do things in a very competitive fashion. A lot of guys have come from programs in college where they do things the same way, but it's all ramped up. These guys are pro football players; they've been doing it this way for a long time. So the young guys have to acclimate themselves not only mentally but physically to how we practice.”
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Standard rookie growing pains aside, Elliott doesn’t believe he’ll ultimately have any issue catching up to the pace of the NFL.
“This is a next level up from Ohio State,” he said. “Obviously the Dallas Football Cowboys. Just honored to be here playing for America’s Team.”