Published: Jan. 31, 2017 at 09:33 a.m.
Updated: Feb. 3, 2017 at 12:38 p.m.

Ezekiel Elliott or Dak Prescott? Dallas owns Offensive Rookie of the Year race


The night before Super Bowl LI, the NFL will salute its best players and plays from the 2016 season with "NFL Honors," a star-studded football and entertainment event hosted by Keegan-Michael Key from the Wortham Theater Center in Houston. Here's the broadcasting information for Saturday night's festivities:

» 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network: Super Bowl Saturday Night, featuring all the red-carpet coverage.
» 8 p.m. ET on FOX: 6th Annual NFL Honors

One of the awards that will be presented on Saturday: Offensive Rookie of the Year for the 2016 season. Who gets your vote?

Ezekiel Elliott enjoyed the most impressive rookie season for a back since Adrian Peterson
It wasn't just about the offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott's ability to get to the edge, cut at full speed and run with raw power was unlike any rookie running back since Adrian Peterson.
Dazzling in Dallas: Elliott ran wild
I don't think any rookie was as effective as Zeke this season. He averaged more than 5 yards per carry behind a great offensive line, taking pressure off Dallas' passing game. Because of Elliott's dominance in the run game, the Cowboys were able to control the clock and win a lot of games. He was the star in Dallas -- and will be for years to come.
Dak Prescott thrived after being thrust into the lineup
Dak Prescott was in a very delicate situation in Dallas, replacing Tony Romo while winning the most games ever for a Cowboys rookie quarterback (13). He played extremely well, putting up some of his best performances in Weeks 15 and 16, just when people were beginning to doubt him. Ezekiel Elliott could easily be given this award, but I feel like a quarterback is more important to the overall success of a team than a running back.
Zeke started career with a bang
There were a lot of good rookies, but Ezekiel Elliott won the rushing title in Year 1. Zeke's physicality and athleticism make him fun to watch. He was a huge reason the Cowboys won nine more games in 2016 than they did a season ago.
Elliott lived up to the billing -- and then some
Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was a great story. Ezekiel Elliott, on the other hand, proved to be a great player. He led the league in rushing and met every expectation Dallas placed on him after drafting him fourth overall. He's going to be a star for a long, long time.
Dak shined in the brightest of spotlights: Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott showed growth and development throughout the season while under the microscope. A lot of people may put Ezekiel Elliott here, but put Zeke on the Browns and he probably struggles. Put Dak with the Browns and I'm guessing they win more than one game.
No one could stop Elliott -- NO ONE
We saw just how hard Ezekiel Elliott ran and how it took an army to bring him to the ground. His physical style and raw talent led him to this year's rushing title.
Elliott gets the hardware over his backfield-mate in Dallas
Some will make the argument for Dak Prescott. My argument for Ezekiel Elliott is that he positively affected the entire team with his production. When the Cowboys drafted Zeke, they felt he could impact the defense more than any defensive player they could select. They were right. He made the D better by keeping the unit off the field. Meanwhile, his rushing ability allowed Prescott to have a play-action/bootleg game. The OL was the true MVP of the team, but I can't vote for them in this category.

My other point: If you ranked the running backs and quarterbacks across the NFL, Elliott would claim a much higher slot in his RB group than Prescott among his signal-calling peers.
Zeke was the real engine of the Cowboys' offense
Ezekiel Elliott should be named Offensive Rookie of the Year. What Dak Prescott accomplished was special -- and the degree of difficulty was high -- but Elliott made that offense go. Typically, defenses loaded up to stop the run, as opposed to worrying about Prescott and the passing game (especially when the Cowboys faced the Vikings and Giants later in the year). I also agree with Charley Casserly's sentiment just above about ranking the players by their position groups. Elliott would be in the top tier of running backs, along with Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson. You can't say the same about Prescott, who was statistically efficient but not as productive as the best quarterbacks. Both were great.
Prescott did things we've never seen from a rookie QB
Yes, Ezekiel Elliott was great and had the eye-popping runs. But Dak Prescott's historic rookie season was a big reason Elliott was able to find so much success.
Cue Zeke's highlight reel ...
The Cowboys' offensive line opened huge holes for the rookie to run through, but Elliott's big-play ability was astounding. He added to his highlight reel every week on his way to becoming the league's rushing leader.
Elliott lifted the entire Cowboys team
All Elliott did to kick off his NFL career was rush for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oh, and he lifted fellow rookie Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' defense while being the main reason that Dallas landed the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The greatest rookie rushing performance since Edgerrin James
Though Ezekiel Elliott finished 177 yards short of Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record, he had one helluva season. He was only the fifth rookie since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL in rushing, joining Earl Campbell, George Rogers, Dickerson and Edgerrin James.
What more could Elliott have done to earn this honor?
Nearly 2,000 scrimmage yards and 16 total touchdowns while helping his team to a division title and the best record in the NFC. If that doesn't cinch it for Ezekiel Elliott, I don't know what else you want.
Prescott entered camp as a third-stringer, ended the season as a Pro Bowler
I'm going with Dak Prescott. I know a lot of folks will split the vote with Ezekiel Elliott. He was good -- and I don't mean to besmirch him -- but DeMarco Murray and Darren McFadden had great seasons running behind that line. Dak came into a situation where he was supposed to be a backup -- and led the Cowboys to the No. 1 seed.
Elliott's performance can't be matched
Ezekiel Elliott was crazy good, playing a huge role of the Cowboys' turnaround. A lot of running backs could do well behind Dallas' O-line, but not many could perform the way he did. Zeke had game-changing scampers every week.
Run, Zeke! Run!
Oh, we're still debating this? Zeke was unreal in everything he did. Anytime you're compared to some of the great running backs in NFL history, you are all right.

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