Grading Dak Prescott

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ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys passes while on the run during the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers defeated the Cowboys 34-31. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

All off-season long, poor Dak Prescott has been at the center of several debates. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment this started, but it was probably when he won the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award over his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott led the NFL in rushing as a rookie, but he had to watch his teammate get the hardware instead. Since then, people have been debating just how good Dak Prescott really is. Well, he’s an honest look.

Grading Dak Prescott

At a glance, Dak Prescott had an outstanding rookie year. He set the record for completion percentage as a rookie passer (with at least nine starts) in NFL history, completing nearly 68% of his passes, and had a touchdown to interception ration of 14-2, also an NFL record. With Prescott under center, the Cowboys won 13 games and won the NFC East. It’s easy to see why fans are very high on the young gun.

However, it’s also easy to see why people are a little skeptical of just how good he is. After all, he played behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, had a future Hall of Fame tight end in Jason Witten, had a stud wide receiver in Dez Bryant, and handed the ball off to the NFL’s leading rusher. While he was very efficient, he didn’t really do much either. He had exactly two games with at least 300 yards in the regular season, and it’s easy to see why some are calling him a game manager. This is where it gets murky.

On one hand, Dak Prescott was only a rookie. Even the greatest quarterbacks of all time struggled as rookies. Cowboys fans should be pleased that Prescott produced as much as he did, and critics should take it easy on the 23 year old. On the other, he’s receiving far too much praise from people.

There are actually people out there that think Dak Prescott is already better than someone like Derek Carr. On the NFL Network’s cash-grab Top 100 list, Prescott was ranked ahead of franchise quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson. At this moment, Prescott isn’t as good as those men, and that’s the secret.

The Truth

The truth of the matter is simple. Dak Prescott is not an elite quarterback. He’s not better than Derek Carr. He’s not better than Russell Wilson. He’s not better than Ben Roethlisberger. He’s not an elite quarterback… yet. And that’s the secret. Because nobody is an elite quarterback after one season. It’s preposterous and frankly, irresponsible to claim that he is after one year.

It’s fun to speculate. That’s part of the game. But perhaps Prescott should be allowed to play significant time before he is compared to veterans of the NFL. Maybe he’ll develop into a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, and maybe he’ll fall apart like other star rookies, such as Robert Griffin III and Vince Young. Time will tell, and that’s the one thing people should be giving the young gun, time.

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