Zeke might have the most raw talent of any running back right now. He combines freak athleticism with great size at 6’ 228 lbs (personally I think he looks bigger). But this is nothing you don’t already know. Elliott is the standard bearer for an outstanding modern power back. He’s got awesome power and a punishes defenders on every play. He is rarely taken down with arm tackles and always falls forward. We all knew this about Zeke. What I didn’t know before studying the film was how patient and short area explosive he is. Let’s look at this run against the Saints in Week 13:
This is the run that opened my eyes to everything that Zeke can do. The traits I see on this run: Patience. Watch as Zeke pauses behind his lineman and waits for the hole to develop. Vision. Zeke picks the correct hole and then sets up the defender for his second cut. Cutting ability. The cut Zeke makes just as he gets through the hole is absolutely absurd. He plants his right leg and explodes out of the cut. Check in out in slow-mo:
He goes from slow to full speed in 2 steps. That is ridiculous. You can see how much his legs are bent and ready to just explode off of every step. That is Zeke’s best trait. Pure explosion and short area burst. It gives him absolutely insane acceleration that causes the defenders to consistently take a terrible angle.
Here’s another one:
Observe how he stays crouched and is constantly ready to cut. He makes 3 great cuts on this run alone. A lesser back would’ve plunged straight ahead for a yard or two or would get caught by 90 or 59. Not many players could get 9 yards out of this run.
Alright. The others were good. This is just ridiculous. Jadaveon Clowney was right there. Zeke had nowhere to go. BUT THAT CUT. Do yourself a favor and watch this in slow-mo and just pay attention to the angle of Zeke’s right leg when he plants and explodes off of it:
THAT IS NOT HUMAN. You can also see his insane acceleration as he gets up to speed in 2 steps and #41 completely misjudges his angle. But this final clip will show Zeke’s true acceleration:
The explosion and acceleration as he sees the hole is insane. Other running backs just don’t look like this.
I didn’t even bother to show his power, because everyone has seen that before. He runs through arm tackles like they’re not even there. The traits that truly make him elite are his patience, vision, cutting, and explosion. Zeke is incredible as a one cut back. He has the patience to wait, the vision to see the hole, and the explosion to get through it instantly. He’s not the most agile and definitely tends to use his power and speed in the open field instead of agility. He has enough top end speed to break huge runs and defensive backs consistently take back angles due to his otherworldly acceleration. Overall, Zeke is the model of an elite, versatile power back.