Former Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin just called his shot for the 2018 NFL season and is relying on Ezekiel Elliott to help him back it up. During a recent segment on NFL Network, the former Cowboys wideout stated that he believes Elliott won’t just have a huge season in 2018, but that he’ll be record-breaking good.
As Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News revealed, Irvin stated that Elliott will break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record and tally 2,200 yards on the ground.
Obviously, this would be nothing short of incredible and is about as bold of a prediction as they come. The closest any NFL player has come to breaking Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards came in 2012 when Adrian Peterson rumbled for 2,097 yards with the Minnesota Vikings. There were a few other instances that had fans watching the final weeks of the season closely, including Jamal Lewis totaling 2,066 yards with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003.
Here’s a look at each player who topped the 2,000-yard mark, courtesy of Pro Football Reference:
- Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams: 2,105 yards (1984)
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: 2,097 yards (2012)
- Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens: 2,066 yards (2003)
- Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions: 2,053 yards (1997)
- Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos: 2,008 yards (1998)
- Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: 2,006 yards (2009)
- O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills: 2,003 yards (1973)
Elliott had a superb rookie season, ripping off 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground over 15 games. Realistically, if he had played all 16 games, he could have pushed the 1,800-yard mark.
Last season was a bit tougher to gauge, as the Cowboys 2016 first-round pick served a six-game suspension in the middle of the year. Prior to the suspension, Elliott had 783 yards over eight games, including a brutal nine-carry, eight-yard performance against the Denver Broncos. Even with that poor outing being factored in, his 983 rushing yards over 10 games would have put him on pace for just over 1,572 yards in 16 games.
Elliott is one of the most likely (and few) candidates to potentially break the NFL record, but there’s also a very real chance Dickerson’s mark of 2,105 yards may never be touched.