Dressed for success: Elliott wears Cowboys blue at intro
IRVING, Texas (AP) Ezekiel Elliott didn't wear a crop-top dress shirt for his first visit to Cowboys headquarters, a day after showing off his midsection on the red carpet at the NFL draft before Dallas took him fourth overall.
The former Ohio State running back's suit was just about the right shade of Cowboys blue, though.
''I had a couple of options,'' he said with a smile.
Elliott arrived Friday with more fanfare than recent top picks by the Cowboys, and for good reason. Dallas took two running backs in the top 20 in the franchise's first 55 years: Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith, who is also the NFL's all-time leading rusher. Elliott is the third.
''It's been a whirlwind,'' said Elliott, the No. 2 all-time rusher at Ohio State behind two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. ''It's starting to sink in. I'm proud to be a part of this prestigious organization.''
Dallas considered trading down Thursday, having talks mostly centered around Baltimore. But the Cowboys weren't willing to risk Elliott being off the board any lower than where they were.
And while owner/general manager Jerry Jones was cautious about talk of another set of ''Triplets'' following the Super Bowl-winning trio of Troy Aikman, Smith and Michael Irvin in the 1990s, he did smile at the notion of putting Elliott with Tony Romo and 2014 All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant.
''Well it is convenient and pleasant to make that analogy, but we all know that was then and this is now,'' Jones said.
The Cowboys seem more interested in going back just two years, when 2014 NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray anchored an offense for an NFC East champion that won just the second playoff game since 1997 for Dallas.
''This is similar to how we played a couple of years ago,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''We ran the ball so effectively, and I thought that had a positive impact on everybody throughout our team. We believe Zeke gives us a chance to do that.''
Playing on the Cowboys' home field in the national championship game of the inaugural College Football Playoff wrapping up the 2014 season, Elliott set an Ohio State bowl record with 246 yards rushing to go with four touchdowns in a 42-20 victory over Oregon.
Asked about that night again Friday, Elliott smiled so big he almost didn't seem to know what to say.
''I have a good track record at AT&T Stadium and I am excited to get back in there,'' he finally said.
It didn't seem logical for Dallas to spend such a high draft pick a year after letting Murray go in free agency and with a pair of solid veterans in Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, who went to a pair of Pro Bowls with Washington.
But executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones says the franchise applied some logic.
''We actually have done some work and believe that some of their best years, the great ones, are in their first five years,'' Jones said. ''Sometimes you are getting the best part of him when you get him right out of college and they are ready to roll.''
And the Cowboys also see something special in Elliott.
''He brings so many other things to the table,'' Stephen Jones said. ''He is so well-rounded, about as well-rounded as we've seen in a while in terms of catching the ball out of the backfield, protecting the quarterback, which we all know in this room is so important to us with Tony.''
A year after saving money in free agency, the Cowboys spent big in the draft to help Romo.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler