Ezekiel Elliott will have to ‘earn’ Cowboys starting RB job

The Cowboys are spewing the company line that No. 4 overall draft pick Ezekiel Elliott has to “earn” the starting job at running back.

Elliott is practicing on the second team behind Darren McFadden at organized team activities, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He’ll also have to “compete” with Alfred Morris on the depth chart.

“Earn” and “compete” were the words used by Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown.

Elliott ran for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns for Ohio State in 2015. He led the Big Ten in both categories and was fifth and third, respectively, in the nation.

While it seems a formality that Elliott will get most of the carries for the Cowboys, it can’t be assumed. Trent Richardson was chosen No. 3 overall in 2012 and has averaged 3.3 yards per carry with the Browns and Colts and is now trying to jump-start his career with the Ravens.

It’s unfair to expect Elliott to be the next Emmitt Smith, but by the same token it’s also unfair to compare Elliott to a colossal bust like Richardson even if he did say he was “shell-shocked” during the first day of OTAs.

Whatever the Cowboys are saying now, it’s hard to see McFadden and Morris keeping Elliott on the sideline for long.