Dallas Cowboys could target first-round running back to address Ezekiel Elliott's decline
The veteran running back burst onto the scene with the Cowboys in 2016, after they picked him in the first round of the draft, racking up 1631 yards at 5.1 yards per carry. However, Elliott has since seen a noteworthy drop-off in production as he managed only 876 yards in 2022 at 3.8 yards per carry - the lowest numbers of his career to date. Asked whether the Cowboys would consider a first-round running back pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, franchise executive vice president Stephen Jones implied it's a possibility as their first draft pick is at number 26. "I think it depends on what part of the first round," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, via ESPN's Todd Archer. "If you're up there in the top 10, it's hard to take them there. You definitely, if you're taking a player in the top half, you're hoping you got a player that's going to be here 10 years. "And it's tough for running backs to last 10 years. There's not many Emmitt Smiths or guys that play that long."
In addition to Elliott's underwhelming performance in 2022, he is also set for a base salary of $10.9million with a $16.7m hit to the Cowboys' cap room. This could mean a restructuring of his contract, or even a release. "We haven't finalized any decisions yet in terms of what that room's going to look like, but Zeke's a tremendous competitor, just a great teammate, a great competitor," Jones added. "Obviously he's making a lot of money. He knows that. Obviously, Tony Pollard's up for free agency, so that's a challenge. We'll work through that." The 2023 NFL Draft gets underway on April 27.
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