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Benrus 3 Stars: No Surprises Picking Top Individual Performers Of 2016 Season
The Cowboys pride themselves on doing everything as a team. Regardless of the outcome on the field, the goal is for the players, coaches and entire organization to come together as one.
However, there are always standouts that rise above the rest.
Throughout the season, we highlighted three stars for each month. But with the 2016 season complete, let’s take a final look back to last year with a trio of standouts.
Here are the 3 Stars of the Year, as voted on by the DallasCowboys.com staff and presented by Benrus.
Ezekiel Elliott – When the Cowboys drafted him with the No. 4 overall pick, they were expecting big things from the rookie tailback. Still, it’s unlikely they could’ve imagined the type of dominating season Elliott was able to provide. His bruising running style not only helped the Cowboys to 13 regular-season wins but also helped create a rugged, aggressive style of offense that seemed to fit Zeke’s personality. He led the NFL in rushing, becoming just the fifth rookie since 1970 to accomplish that feat. His 1,631 rushing yards shattered the Cowboys’ rookie record of (1,007 yards) and ranked fifth in franchise history among all backs. His 1,994 all-purpose yards also ranks third among NFL rookies in league history.
Dak Prescott – When Tony Romo went down with a back injury in the third preseason game, the first reaction by many centered on the Cowboys acquiring a veteran presence. While the team eventually traded for some experience, he never started a game, nor did Romo when he returned to full strength. That’s how good Prescott was in 2016, taking over the starting position and making it his job to keep. Prescott set NFL records with his 104.9 QB rating, the highest-ever in league history for a rookie. His 67.8 completion percentage throughout the season was also an NFL rookie record. And his 13 victories tied Ben Roethlisberger for the most in one season by a rookie. He set an NFL record for most pass attempts (176) to begin a career without throwing an interception, and also became the first rookie quarterback in Cowboys history to make the Pro Bowl. And in one game against the Buccaneers, Prescott completed 32-of-36 passes, recording the second-highest completion percentage (88.9) in a single game in NFL history.
Sean Lee – While the Cowboys offense put up some big numbers in 2016, the defense was rather stout throughout the season as well. Leading the charge was Lee, who was healthy for the entire year, although he didn’t start the final game because the Cowboys held out many key starters for the playoffs. Still, Lee earned First Team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career and made his second straight Pro Bowl. Lee led the Cowboys with a career-high 174 tackles, marking the third time he’s finished a season as the club’s leading tackler. Lee was credited with 120 solo tackles, the second most in franchise history behind Eugene Lockhart’s 154 in 1989.
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