The Cowboys like what they have seen from Ezekiel Elliott so far. The rookie has participated in phase two of the team’s offseason program since he joined the Cowboys as the fourth overall pick three weeks ago.
“He’s done a real nice job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “The rookies have a lot to learn in a short period of time. But we spend a lot of time with them in the meeting room and get a chance to be on the field with them a few times a week and try to challenge them and get them up to speed as quickly as possible. And Zeke has responded well as have the other rookies.”
The Cowboys move to phase three of their offseason program Tuesday, with 10 organized team activities over the next month. For the first time, they will get to see Elliott face their defense in drills.
“It seems like he’s picking things up pretty quickly, which is what you like to see,” center Travis Frederick said. “Early on, you see a mistake here or there, and you see less and less throughout time. So hopefully, once we get into OTAs, we can start seeing in a team atmosphere, we can really get a good evaluation.”
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The Cowboys made Elliott their first-round pick, passing on cornerback Jalen Ramsey to take the Ohio State running back. Elliott rushed for 3,961 yards and 43 touchdowns on 592 carries in his three-year career. He had back-to-back 1,800-yard seasons to send him off to the NFL.
Elliott signed a four-year, $24.9 million deal with the Cowboys on Wednesday.
“I think the last two weeks being out there with those teaching sessions with him, it’s impressive how he’s gone about it,” tight end Jason Witten said. “You can tell that he’s polished; he’s smooth. You don’t want to overanalyze it yet. We’re not even in pads. But I think everyone is working the right way. I think he’s going to come in and be a tremendous asset to our football team.”
The offensive linemen are especially happy to have Elliott as their new teammate.
“Obviously, he’s a special talent to be taken that high,” guard Zack Martin said. “So we’re excited he’s here.”
The Cowboys signed Alfred Morris in free agency, giving them two running backs with five 1,000-yard seasons between them, and the highly regarded Elliott. They hope to return to their 2014 ways when the Cowboys had 508 rushes and 506 passes, and DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing.
“I think there’s a recipe that we’re trying to do offensively,” Witten said. “I think we have to be cautious. This season doesn’t just pick up where we were there in that year that we had. You have to earn that. I think that’s a little bit of a trap for us to think in that mindset. So we feel like we have plenty enough guys to do it. Now, we have to start that process of coming together as a football team, and that’s where I’m excited be a part of.”