The glitz and glamour that come with playing for the Dallas Cowboys are enough allure for any draft prospect, but for former Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, landing with America’s Team would also come with the advantage of rushing behind the NFL’s best offensive line.
Elliott, who led the Buckeyes to the national title in 2014 and declared for this year's draft in November, was asked Friday which team he’d like to hear call his name in Chicago in April.
"The Dallas Cowboys [are my pick],” Elliott said on NFL Network, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. "I want to go play behind that great offensive line they have down in Dallas."
Elliott is the top running back in this year’s class, according to CBS Sports, and is probably enticed by the money that would come with being taken by the Cowboys, assuming they would draft him with their first-round selection at No. 4 overall.
Elliott rushed for more than 1,800 yards in each of the last two seasons and scored six of Ohio State's 11 touchdowns in its two College Football Playoff wins over Alabama and Oregon in January 2015.
Running backs haven’t had much value in the NFL draft over the past half-decade, but Todd Gurley’s sensational rookie campaign last year proved how much of an impact they can make.
Elliott is in the early stages of meeting with NFL teams and media, but he’ll get the chance to make an impression at the NFL Scouting Combine later in the month, where he has ambitious hopes for his 40-yard dash.
"We're trying to get down in the 4.3 range," Elliott said of his goal. "We're working.”
That figure would impress any team, including the Cowboys.
But Dallas has other needs to address—particularly at quarterback after going 1-11 while Tony Romo was sidelined twice with a broken collarbone, first in Week 2 and again in Week 11.
Even if Romo is at full strength in 2016, he’ll be 36 years old.
The Cowboys lost 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray in free agency last year yet still had the league’s ninth-best rushing offense in 2015 behind the two-headed attack of Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle.
However, the team released Randle in November, and McFadden will be 29 next season, the final year of his contract, which leaves the future of Dallas' backfield uncertain as well.
Elliott also expressed interest in the Chicago Bears, saying Friday it “would be a dream situation” to wind up in the Windy City, per Yahoo Sports. The Bears have the 11th overall pick but already appear to have their back of the future in Jeremy Langford, their fourth-round pick last year.
Elliott will compete for immediate playing time wherever he lands, and depending on the personnel, he could be a Day 1 starter.