Ezekiel Elliott is undoubtedly one of the greatest running backs to ever grace the backfield for Ohio State. His performance at the combine showed as much, showing just why he was so dangerous, and struck fear into opposing defenses every Saturday. His most memorable run as a Buckeye came in a game-clinching 85-yarder against Alabama in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
Elliott's monster sophomore campaign in which he put up 1,878 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns set up a season fueled with tons of Heisman hope. After his late surge in the Buckeyes final three games, those who hadn't known of Elliott before then, did. His junior campaign, we saw much of the same, keeping the Buckeyes in some games, and helping them pull away in others. He would finish 2nd in Ohio State history for career rushing yards. We expect good things from next season's crop of running backs, but it'll be hard to duplicate what Zeke did.
His frame is good for an NFL running back, and while he can be a bruising back, if he gets into the secondary, it's over. He's truly a complete back, and that's not so typical in today's NFL, where you have one or the other in a single back. His vision is one of his stronger assets, which will come in handy even more when he's playing on Sundays, where decisions must be made even quicker.
Weight: 225 lbs
Arms: 31 1/4"
Hands: 10 1/4" -- tied for biggest among running backs
Elliott was asked about which of the 14 Buckeyes in attendance for the Combine would probably run the fastest 40 yard dash, and surprisingly didn't pick himself as the winner stating, "that's a tough one. I don't know who's going to run the fastest 40...I'd probably have to go with Braxton."
He stressed his versatility and effort when talking about sets him apart from other running backs in this year's draft class, noting, "I think I'm a guy who's going to work and work hard from day one and I think I'm a guy who brings a lot of versatility to the position. I'm a guy who can play all three downs and I think excel in all areas of the game."
Running backs haven't been a staple of the first round the past few drafts, but he thinks last year laid the ground work. "I think the guys last year that were first-round picks like Todd Gurley, they set a standard for the younger generation coming up. I feel we're going to bring it back."
He also noted that he wouldn't mind playing for Chicago given former Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton is now with the Bears.
"Stan Drayton, that's my guy. He was hard on me since I got on campus. He's really the biggest reason why I'm here today, why I'm the back I am today. He made sure when I learned this position that I learned it thoroughly, that I learned not just what I do but what the guys around me do. That made me understand the game so much better. He taught me how to anticipate instead just off of reactions off of instinct. That made me play faster and made me into a great player."
While Zeke is generally a guy who always has a smile on his face, there were two questions about Alabama's Derrick Henry that made Elliott a little shorter with the press than normal. He didn't want to compare himself to Henry or give any other information than he's met him this week.
40-yard dash: 4.47 official
Vertical jump: 32.5"
Broad jump: 118.0"
Here's Elliott running the 40:
@EzekielElliott (@MikeMayock's #1 RB) from @OhioStAthletics runs a 4.46u 40-yard dash! #NFLCombine https://t.co/dWxCwI6iGX— NFL (@NFL) February 26, 2016
Zeke is expected to be the first running back off the board at the Draft this year. Despite Alabama's Derrick Henry getting a lot of buzz, Elliott is the most complete back available and will assuredly go in the first round. Where in the top 31 is to be determined, but some expect him to go as high as the top 10.