From the first running back drill during the Cowboys' OTA practice Wednesday, it was noticeable that Ezekiel Elliott was being more vocal than usual.
Elliott said with him entering his third year, taking on a larger leadership role is something he discussed with running backs coach Gary Brown.
"That's definitely something I'm focusing on this offseason," Elliott said, "not only just leading by example but coming out and encouraging guys and bringing them along with me.
"I just want to show them how to work."
In previous seasons, Elliott had veterans like Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris in his position group. Elliott is now the clear leader of a unit that includes his former Ohio State teammate Rod Smith and rookie Bo Scarbrough.
Elliott's ranking on the NFL Network's annual Top 100 players list was recently revealed. He came in at No. 54, a significant drop from the No. 7 spot he held the year before.
"It is what it is. I missed six games," Elliott said. "I know the player I am. You guys know the player I am. Every player in the league knows the player I am. I don't really need verification from a Top 100 list."
Will that number be a little different at this time next year?
"It should be," Elliott said.