Everyone, and I mean everyone predicts Cowboys running Ezekiel Elliott to win the Rookie of the Year award. I think he will myself. There really is no reason to think Elliott won’t win. But that does mean it is ok to anoint him as the rookie of the year now?
The hype for Elliott has totally overshadowed every other rookie in the NFL, with the small exception of his teammate, quarterback Dak Presscott. But just because he is in an amazing position to succeed, doesn’t mean he is guaranteed to win the award. Is it fair to pencil him in now as the winner?
While Elliott likely will win the award, there are many other players to keep an eye on. One of them is the Ravens own left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
Throughout the preseason, Stanley has been truly dominant, only allowing two quarterback hits. Stanley has also been extremely consistent in opening up holes for running backs. Typically when you notice the offensive tackles, it's because they did something wrong. But Stanley was noticeable as the huge, powerful left tackle totally imposing his will on would be pass rushers.
Offensive lineman are often overlooked for awards such as ROY as quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers garner all of the attention. No matter what kind of numbers Elliott puts up, Stanley will have his chance to make his case. If Stanley can keep running backs churning out yards, and keep Joe Flacco upright against strong pass rushers in the AFC North, it won't go unnoticed.
Stanley probably won't win ROY, but he will give Ezekiel Elliott a run for his money. Saying that Elliott is a lock to win ROY isn't stretch, but it really is unfair to the other rookies in the NFL.