Will Elliott’s criticism of coaches hurt draft stock? NFL scout weighs in
Perhaps the only bigger jolt than seeing Ohio State lose to Michigan State in Columbus Saturday was seeing the postgame comments from Buckeyes star Ezekiel Elliott.
“I deserve more than (12) carries,” Elliott told reporters. “I can’t speak for the play-caller. I don’t know what was going on.”
Ohio State managed just 132 yards of offense against MSU and Elliott, who had run for over 100 yards in every game this season and had a streak of 15 consecutive 100-yard games, was limited to only 33 yards on 12 carries. He only had two carries in the second half.
"I’m disappointed in the play-calling. I’m disappointed in the situations that we were put in, and I wish it all played out differently," Elliott said. "It is very disappointing. In the one drive that we had where we kind of had some momentum after we scored on the strip-sack, the plays we ran, we ran a lot of gap schemes and we were gashing them. You guys saw that on that drive. We had a lot of momentum.
"Honestly, we didn’t see those plays for the rest of the game. Those plays weren’t called anymore. I asked for those plays to be called, and they weren’t. It just hurts. It hurts a lot because of how we lost. I feel like we just weren’t put in the right opportunity to win this game. We weren’t put in the right situations to win this game."
I asked an NFL scout if he thought teams would hold Elliott’s comments taking issue with his coaches against him. "Not really. If anything, I agree with him. It’s just a young kid being frustrated. You’ve just got to tell him to hold his emotions. Teams will ask him about it but he’s the furthest thing from a malicious kid. He is a good, solid team guy. He’s too good of a kid and too good of a player.”
The scout said he has a late first-round grade on Elliott and nothing that happened Saturday changes that.
"He’s not as physical finishing runs as Carlos Hyde, but he’s got better top-end speed. He’s not Todd Gurley, but he’s a complete back. I think he’s the real deal and he’ll probably be a late first-round pick.”
There were an OSU school-record 19 scouts in attendance from 18 teams for the Michigan State game.
Bruce Feldman is a senior college football reporter and columnist for FOXSports.com and FS1. He is also a New York Times best-selling author. His new book, “The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks,” came out in October 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB and Facebook.