NFL

Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett have one big issue with Ezekiel Elliott's game

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys hurdles Chris Prosinski #31 of the Chicago Bears while carrying the ball in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys hurdles Chris Prosinski #31 of the Chicago Bears while carrying the ball in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys have seemingly found the franchise's next great running back in Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing as a rookie this past season. He was a huge part of the team's 13-3 record in 2016 and looks like a lock to make the Pro Bowl each year going forward.

As good as he's been, though, two former Cowboys greats take issue with one aspect of his game: hurdling.

"He better stop that," Tony Dorsett said Saturday, via the Dallas Morning News. "That's one thing that I don't like because when you get airborne you're at the mercy of the hit. Sometimes you can't protect yourself. I think as Zeke gets older he make take that out of his repertoire."

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"He needs to stop that. That scares me every time he takes off. Every time he gets airborne, I'm like ohhhh."

Elliott hurdled several defenders last season, providing highlight-reel runs on a weekly basis. He avoided injury every time, but there's no guarantee that'll continue in the future.

All it takes is one defender to come across and level him while he's in the air, potentially causing him serious injury.

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As he gets older and becomes smarter with his decision making on the field, he'll likely shy away from jumping over defenders. Running through them is something he's capable of, and carries far less risk of injury.

Emmitt Smith agreed with Dorsett and doesn't exactly want to see Zeke going airborne as much as he does.

"Get on the ground as quickly as possible," he said.

Smith continued by praising Elliott, making an interesting comparison to a couple of board games.

"He's behind his shoulder pads," Smith said. "He's always falling forward. Great vision. Tremendous speed. He's got a hell of a jump cut. And he's playing chess while others are out there playing checkers. I appreciate that. He's a thinker. He's a smart guy. I love to watch him run."

As much as both Hall of Famers love Elliott's game, they're right about one thing: He needs to stop hurdling defenders if he wants to play for 15 years. The Cowboys can't afford to lose him for an extended period of time.