The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams have a variety of reasons to feel good about their current and future outlook. Two of the biggest reasons are their current starting running backs. Both Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley have quickly proven to be among the best players at the position over the early stages of their NFL careers.
While Elliott entered the league one year after Gurley, both players were top-10 picks. The Rams selected Gurley, who starred at the University of Georgia, with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Just one year later, the Cowboys did something that was extremely rare, as they selected Elliott from Ohio State University in the top-five, taking him No. 4 overall.
Both players have impressed over the past few seasons and are go-to options on their respective offenses. So, we’re going to take a look at the debate over who has been the better NFL player and which team gets the edge at the running back position.
Most importantly, we want to hear the opinion of the public and get your thoughts on the running back debate.
The Case for Todd Gurley
While Gurley had a strong start to his NFL career by rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie, he saw his numbers hit a decline during his sophomore season. That year, Gurley totaled 885 yards with a 3.2 yard-per-carry average and found the end zone six times. The 2016 season marked the last time anything the Rams running back did on a football field could be considered “mediocre.”
Not only has Gurley been a force as a runner in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he’s become an exceptional pass-catcher as well. Over the 29 games he’s played in the two-year stretch, the 24-year-old has racked up 2,556 rushing yards, 123 receptions, 1,368 receiving yards, and 40 total touchdowns (30 rushing).
As far as accolades go, Gurley was named the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017, is a two-time First-Team All-Pro and won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. He’s also been the NFL’s rushing touchdowns leader in each of the past two seasons.
His case to be the NFL’s best back, especially with the Rams posting a 24-8 combined record the past two seasons is tough to argue against.
The Case for Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott hit the ground running in his rookie season, as he led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,631 and tacked on 15 touchdowns as well. His second year was shortened due to a six-game suspension, but he still racked up 983 yards on the ground with seven scores in 10 games.
Over the first 40 regular-season games of the Cowboys star running back’s career, he’s averaged 4.7 yards per carry and totaled 4,048 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Arguably the most impressive aspect of Elliott’s game is the fact that he’s added another dimension as a pass-catcher during 2018.
In the 15 games Elliott played this season, he not only tallied 304 carries but added on 77 receptions for 567 yards and scored nine total touchdowns. Elliott has managed to become one of the most well-rounded backs in the NFL, coming in right near the top of that category with Gurley and a few other big names.
Along with the 23-year-old’s 2016 rushing title, he also led the league in yards this season as well and was a First-Team All-Pro during his rookie year.