The Dallas Cowboys didn't draft a running back, is a Ezekiel Elliott return inevitable?

The Dallas Cowboys addressed many holes in their roster during the 2024 NFL Draft, but running back was not one of them.

That has only increased speculation about a potential reunion between the Cowboys and former superstar Ezekiel Elliott.

In a pre-draft press conference, Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones talked about having discussions with Elliott and his agent, but said no deal had been reached.

Foxborough, MA - January 7: New England Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott rushes in the first half. The Patriots lost to the New York Jets, 17-3. (Photo by Danielle Parhizkaran/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Jones said that they had running backs they liked, but didn't feel like value was there when they were on the clock.

"It just felt like every time the situation was there for us to make a pick and do the right thing, it wasn't a running back. We had running backs we'd be thinking 'ok our pick is coming in 10 picks, eight picks, five picks away' and then there would be run," Jones said.

Last year's starter, Tony Pollard, signed with the Tennessee Titans in the offseason.

The Dallas running back room includes new signing Royce Freeman, plus returning backs Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn.


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The Cowboys did take three offensive linemen in the draft. Jones says by filling the holes on the line, they will be able to find a replacement at running back more easily.

"We'll have opportunities throughout [the offseason] to address this running back situation, and we feel like we'll get it done. It makes a running back's job a lot easier when the guys up front are doing their job," said Jones.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones hinted that Dallas' solution at running back may not even be on the roster at the start of the season.

"I've seen teams go on and win the Super Bowl after trading for a running back or running backs in midseason," Jones said.

Which brings things back to Elliott.

The Cowboys selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick in 2016.

Elliott, who was released by the Cowboys last March, after 8 seasons with the franchise. 

The 28-year-old back led the New England Patriots with 642 rushing yards, but only averaged 3.5 yards per carry.

Reporters asked the Cowboys brass about signing Elliott directly. 

The Cowboys' owner did not reject the idea.

"He's a positive influence at all times," Jones said of Elliott. "Not one time in maybe some of a critical time has he been anything but a positive to a winning influence as a person and teammate with the Dallas Cowboys. So, that's a big plus that he has."

"The bottom line here is he's a positive. I think he should be a positive for this team," he continued.