There are typically a select few quarterbacks who get drafted with the preconceived notion of starting for their respective teams in year one. In fact, in many cases QB’s are usually drafted early to a team with an aging, or non-long term solution signal caller, while being brought with the expectation/assumption that they could be leading their team sooner than later. However, neither of these aforementioned scenarios were in effect for Rayne Dakota (Dak) Prescott.
Dak’s Journey to Big D
Prescott was the eighth quarterback taken with the 37th pick in the forth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. It can be surmised he was drafted to compete as a backup for the oft injured Tony Romo. However, as fate would have it and before having even played a meaningful game, Romo was out with a back injury that will be keeping him out a reported 8-10 weeks. Enter Dak Prescott. The new starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. The question now is…will he be any good?
I’d like to start by looking at the measurables. Prescott is 6’ 2” and 226 lbs. (about average size for a QB). His hands are 10 7/8”, which are giant and should help him keep the ball secure. During the NFL Combine, he posted fairly solid numbers. In fact, he ran a 4.79 second 40 yard dash, had a 32.5 inch vertical jump, 7.11 second 3 cone drill, and was a top performer in the broad jump at 116 inches.
His college production was impressive. He owns 38 Mississippi State school records and also lead MSU in passing and rushing in consecutive years in 2014 and 2015, a feat that only he and Tim Tebow have accomplished in SEC history. During his sophomore and junior seasons he rushed for 829 and 986 yards respectively. Those numbers fell off a bit his senior year due to an underachieving offensive line. Oddly enough, it was poor line play that also helped his completion percentage go up almost 5% during his senior year, due to a needed increase in throwing quick passes underneath to keep from getting destroyed by the defenders who were constantly getting into the backfield. Nevertheless, the biggest issue that I saw was his down field targeting can be off at times and he doesn’t always lead his receivers like he should.
A Lone Star Quarterback
As I stated earlier, he’s the starting quarterback this season for the Cowboys, so the more games of Dak we get on tape, the more we’ll know, but as of today we know what he’s done in the preseason and his first two games. As of this writing, he has played in three preseason games and is 39 of 50 (78% completion) for 454 yards with 5 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception. He has also carried the ball in the preseason seven times for 53 yards and 2 TDs. Additionally, Dak has also appeared in two regular season contests so and has completed 47 of 75 attempts (62.7% completion rate) for 519 yards. Although he has yet to throw for a touchdown he does have a rushing TD (3 attempts for 18 yards) to his credit. Not bad for a fourth round draft pick.
In the preseason, he went up against mostly second and third string defenses. Whereas, so far in the regular season he has already faced two divisional opponents, the Giants, who are a middling defense at best, and the Redskins, who are just plain horrible. Ultimately, the rest of the regular season will bring a much higher level of competitiveness and more complex defensive looks, which will require Prescott to make split second, high pressure decisions which could decide a game. Regardless, he has a superb supporting cast and is in a position to be successful. Although he looks to lead an offense that should be run heavy with rookie acquisition Ezekiel Elliott (provided that he isn’t a bust, he has been a bit underwhelming as of this writing), he has weapons in his receiving core. Last but certainly not least he is being protected by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. At the end of the day Dak should have all day to throw and a hopefully a RB that will pound defenses into exhaustion. Let’s see if Dak Prescott can become the next big thing in Dallas.
Thanks for reading!