Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones reveals quarterback Dak Prescott’s finest quality as well as the expectation’s for his immediate future.
Last season, Jerry Jones hit the draft lottery. The Dallas Cowboys owner and self-appointed general manager landed a franchise quarterback in the back end of the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. That is despite Jones and the Cowboys front office doing everything they could to try and do the exact opposite.
For those out of the know, allow me to explain. The Cowboys meet, worked out and interviewed Prescott likely more than any other quarterback prospect prior to the draft last offseason. Yet, once the event actually began, Dallas attempted to trade up to select a different player other than Dak. In fact, they did so twice, failing to find a willing trade partner both times.
The Cowboys went after Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round, but got leapfrogged by the Denver Broncos. Than, at the start of Day Three, Dallas attempted to trade up for Michigan State’s Connor Cook. But they were once again out maneuvered, this time by the Oakland Raiders. So, in a very literal sense, the Cowboys “settled” for the player who would become the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year instead.
Despite that bit of draft ignorance, give the Cowboys organization credit. They did make that selection. And they did do their homework on Prescott. They simply missed what every other NFL team missed when it came to their evaluation of the 23-year old quarterback’s potential as an NFL starter.
In fact, seven other quarterbacks were taken in the draft prior to Prescott. None of whom matched the fourth round pick’s production. And all of those teams would probably rather have Dak under center today.
So why were so many teams, analysts and scouts wrong about Prescott? Jones revealed the secret to Dak’s success recently. He believes it’s Prescott’s ability to learn that separates him from the pack.
"“I think that may be his finest quality,” responded Jones during an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday via Rob Phillips of the team’s official website. “His ability to look for every way he can to get better and continue to do it, so I think there will be dramatic improvement. And you have every reason to think so because he just left Mississippi State for all practical purposes. And you see how he took what he was getting from meetings, what he was getting from the coaching, what he was getting from guys like [Tony] Romo, what he was getting from everybody. Seeking it out.”"
Prescott’s growth between his senior year in college to his rookie season in the NFL is unprecedented. Let’s start with some stats from his junior season with the Bulldogs. In 2014, Prescott threw for 3,449 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a completion percentage of 61.6.
In Prescott’s senior year his completion percentage jumped nearly five points (66.2) and his mistakes dropped by more than half, as he threw for more yardage (3,793), more scores (29) and less interceptions (5) in the same amount of games (13). The impressive college quarterback also ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 24 total touchdowns in that same two-year span.
The jump from Prescott’s senior year at Mississippi State to his rookie season under center with America’s Team is even more impressive. Facing the best football players in the world, Dak’s completion percentage actually increased to 67.8 during his first year in the NFL. That’s was the fourth highest in the league last season, one slot above New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady in the rankings.
Prescott also threw for one less interception than he did as a senior in college, despite playing in three more games against much better competition. The Pro Bowl quarterback threw for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record in 2016.
Now the question is does Dak Prescott have yet another growth spurt inside him? According to Jerry Jones, the ability to grow and learn is the young quarterback’s finest quality. There’s no reason to think he won’t be better in 2017.