Baldinger: Ezekiel Elliott could be draft's best player

Could the Dallas Cowboys get the best player in the 2016 NFL Draft after three prospects have already come off the board?

Could, and should, says NFL Media analyst Brian Baldinger.

The 13-year NFL veteran, who played for the Cowboys in his first five seasons as a pro, believes Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott could be the prize of the entire draft, and finds the Buckeyes' two-time 1,800-yard rusher to be a nice fit in Dallas.

"I think he might be the best overall player in the whole draft. I don't think I'm overstating that. I think his tape shows that," Baldinger said on NFL Network. "(I thought) When (Dallas) could not figure out a way to keep DeMarco Murray last year, that this team was going to go down, and they did. They went from 12-4 to 4-12. A lot of things happened, however, I think with that offensive line and the way they want to play football -- nothing against what (Darren) McFadden did (last) year, but we know his injury history -- they need a stud at that position. I think what their offensive success is predicated on."

Analysts Bucky Brooks and Charles Davis project Elliott to the Cowboys as well, while Daniel Jeremiah and Lance Zierlein see him sliding to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 8 overall.

Behind one of the NFL's most physical offensive lines last year, McFadden enjoyed the second-best season of his eight-year pro career with 1,089 yards. As Baldinger alluded to, however, it was also just the second time in his career he's played 16 regular-season games.

If Dallas were to take Elliott at No. 4, it would be the highest draft pick spent on a running back since the Cleveland Browns chose Trent Richardson No. 3 overall in 2012.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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