Concerns over Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term durability grew this summer, and some NFL analysts have suggested it’s time for Tony Pollard to take over as lead running back.
“Elliott’s diminishing speed and production will force the Cowboys to turn to Pollard by the end of October,” ESPN’s Matt Bowen predicted. “A dual-threat player with home run ability, Pollard will emerge in the Dallas offense.”
Bowen’s colleague, Eric Karabell, is also bullish on Pollard, picking him as the Cowboys’ breakout candidate in fantasy football in the same ESPN piece.
“The efficient Pollard enters his fourth campaign with a chance to push Elliott for a larger share of touches and perhaps his first 1,000-yard rushing season,” Karabell wrote.
Pollard’s stock rose last season when he set career highs in carries (130) and rushing yards (719). Elliott’s slow decline appeared to continue in 2021 as the Cowboys often took the ball out of his hands more, limiting him to 237 carries — the fewest in his career.
Running backs tend to wear down as they approach 30. Elliott, 27, is no exception, and he is recovering from a partially torn right PCL. Pollard, meanwhile, has had no major injuries in his career.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones still has faith in Elliott, saying, “We go as Zeke goes,” per CBS Sports.
However, that could change. This could be the season Pollard, who’s faster and younger than Elliott, gets more carries than his three-time Pro Bowl teammate.