One of the biggest misconceptions that has come out of Ezekiel Elliott’s criticism of Urban Meyer following Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State on Saturday is how it is going to impact his draft status. Elliott, one of the country’s top backs, and a Heisman Trophy candidate, was critical of Meyer’s play calling in which he carried the ball only 12 times for 33-yards.
The junior running back said he plans to enter the 2016 draft. Some observers feel he has damaged his draft value.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Elliott will certainly be vetted by NFL teams, and if the only thing that comes up is his comments about Meyer, it won’t hurt him one bit.
Here is why: The NFL is looking for playmakers. And, if you haven’t harmed anyone physically, haven’t robbed a bank, and are not a serial killer, there is an opportunity for you.
Furthermore, it is important to note that Elliott didn’t criticize his teammates. By not doing that he demonstrated that he is committed to his teammates, and even a team leader. Lot’s of teams are going to be impressed that he had the guts to speak out about something he thought was wrong. And, the way he said it was important, too. He wasn’t yelling, screaming and making a scene. He spoke very calmly about the matter. (see video linked at the end of the story).
Elliott complained about not getting the ball in a big game, and that is exactly what pros are looking for. They want a guy who wants to make big plays, even if he will complain if he doesn’t get the ball _ see Dez Bryant in Dallas.
Finally, it is important to understand how the National Football League works. There are three levels: The front office, coaches and players. When things go bad, the front office will blame the coaches for not improving the player’s performance. The coaches will blame the front office for not getting them better players. Finally, the players will point fingers at the coaches for not putting them in position to win.
Elliott’s criticism of Meyer _ which everyone seems to forget was absolutely correct _ falls into precisely how the pro game works. And as much time Elliott has put into the program, and as much as his talents have contributed to fattening Meyer’s wallet, he has earned the right to speak his mind.
No, Elliott didn’t hurt his draft status, he may have even improved it by voicing his desire to win, and not criticizing his teammates. Ultimately, he will be drafted based on how his talents translate to the NFL, not what he said about his coach.