Jerry Jones, Cowboys explain how Ezekiel Elliott makes defense better

The Cowboys might have been better served upgrading their defense with the fourth-overall pick but instead decided to give quarterback Tony Romo another offensive weapon with former Ohio State star Ezekiel Elliott. But to hear owner and general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett explain it, drafting Elliott, a dynamic running back, improves both the offense and defense.

“We don’t necessarily subscribe to the fact that this was a pure offensive pick," Jones told the team's website after the first round. "We think that it could add 10 or 12 plays to the game each week on the offensive side of the ball. That was one of the things that impressed me about the player.”

Garrett expanded on Jones' comments.

“Great runners, and a great running game -- that helps the quarterback, it helps the receivers because you get a lot of run defenses where you get favorable looks outside,” Garrett said.

“Hopefully you possess the ball more. You get more plays on offense, fewer plays on defense, and that allows your defense to play at a higher level. It’s similar to how we played a couple years ago, when we ran the ball so effectively – and I thought it had a really positive impact on everybody on our team. We believe Zeke gives us a chance to do that.”

It's a fair point, at least from the perspective of April, some four months before the season. Also helping: The return of Romo and Dez Bryant, who battled injuries in 2015, though the defense still needs a lot of work.

For now, Elliott, who will wear Deion Sanders' old No. 21 (or, more recently, Terrance Mitchell), has one thing on his mind: The Lombardi Trophy.

"I'm a competitor," he told Sanders moments after he was drafted. "I hate to lose more than I love winning, and I'm coming to Dallas to win a Super Bowl. ... I live for the high expectations. I live for the big moments so I don't think they could've picked a better player for this situation."

Zeke Elliott upgrades the offense, and by extension, the defense. (USATSI)
Zeke Elliott upgrades the offense, and by extension, the defense. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories