New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL Draft Profile: Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott is an interesting option for the New Orleans Saints to consider. The Saints allowed backup Khiry Robinson to leave via free agency and will want to maintain a balanced attack on offense, so we profile the Buckeyes’ running back.
The New Orleans Saints have a good stable of running backs, but what happens if Ezekiel Elliott free falls in the draft and the Black and Gold have an opportunity to snag him? Players fall for many strange reasons in the draft and some lucky team may be the beneficiary.
We continue our draft profile series with Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, who could become a dynamic offensive weapon for the New Orleans Saints.
Weight: 225 LBS
Arm Length: 31 1/4 inches
Hands: 10 1/4 inches
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds
Vertical: 32.5 inches
Broad jump: 118 inches
Ezekiel Elliott is being hailed as the best running back in this year’s draft, and for good reason. He has elite vision and instincts to see developing blocks and the decisiveness to burst through any hole, no matter how small. Even when a play goes back, Elliott has the burst to elude penetration in the backfield and turn a loss of yards into a gain.
He has exceptional balance through the point of attack and does not shy away from punishing defenders trying to bring him to the ground. His thick physique fits his physical running style but he still has plenty of agility to make quick cuts to get past defenders in the open field. Elliott is an eager blocker in pass protection and can adjust to the ball in the air as a pass catcher for big gains.
No running back is perfect though. Elliott seems to always try and finish his run in a physical manner. You simply can’t afford to endure big hits every game if you want to have a long and productive career in the NFL.
Elliott has a lot of impressive numbers over his career at Ohio State, but teams may be wary of his over 600 carries in the last two years alone. Just because you are a bell cow in college, doesn’t mean you can expect to have the same kind of success with the same amount of carries. He can has room to improve in his pass-blocking and route-running game. There are questions about his maturity, but he has no big personality issues that a team needs to monitor.
Ezekiel Elliott is as safe a pick as you can get at his position. He should be a productive back right out of the gate and provide immediate value to any team that selects him in the first round. He worked out well at the combine and his game tape speaks for itself.
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How he fits with the New Orleans Saints:
The Saints have a well-rounded stable of running backs with Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet, and Vick Ballard. New Orleans has a significant amount of money tied up in the first two backs. Hightower and Cadet are veteran backups well-versed in the Saints’ system. The selection of Elliott for the Saints isn’t likely.
If he was drafted, he would form a vicious running back tandem with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller. From a scheme standpoint, he would keep defenses guessing since he is equipped for both the inside and outside runs as well as screen passes or passes out of the flat.
In my opinion, the Saints should pass on Ezekiel Elliott. He is a clear-cut first-round pick and you don’t spend the 12th overall selection on a running back even if he is being predicted to be a top-10 pick. The Saints have needs on the offensive line and defensive front as well, and the running back group is stable at the moment. Elliott will certainly make a team very happy come September, but it shouldn’t be the New Orleans Saints.