Dallas Cowboys: Can Ben DiNucci be the next Dak Prescott?

Ben DiNucci, James Madison (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Ben DiNucci, James Madison (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott surprised everyone with his emergence. Can Ben DiNucci do the same?

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016, he was expected to be a backup or a long-term project. He ended up being the offensive rookie of the year.

In the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Cowboys selected quarterback Ben DiNucci. Similar expectations are placed on him to that of Dak in his rookie season. Can DiNucci break out as Dak did?

First, let’s dig into who DiNucci is because I’ve never heard of him before he was drafted. It’s an interesting path, that’s for sure.

He originally joined the University of Pittsburgh back in 2015, but never saw the field until 2016 when he played in one game. In 2017, he played in 10 games throwing for just over 1,000 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Unfortunately for him, he lost his spot as the starter on the team and transferred to James Madison University, which plays Division I football in the CAA. It was here that he proved himself as a dual-threat quarterback.

The 2018 season saw him play in 13 games and throw for 2,275 yards,16 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. On the ground, he ran for 433 yards and nine touchdowns.

A great 16-game season followed with him throwing for 3,441 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. DiNucci also ran for 569 yards and seven touchdowns.

Let’s not forget that he has been an efficient passer. With James Madison, he holds a 70 percent completion percentage and averages just under 200 yards per game. Add on 9.1 yards per pass attempt in 2019.

The school placed first in their conference after losing only one game in the regular season, which was against West Virginia. The only other loss that season came in the FCS Championship game against North Dakota State.

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Head coach Mike McCarthy loves having a quarterback on the sidelines that he can work with, and DiNucci is just that. The way the New Orleans Saints utilized Taysom Hill can be the same way the Cowboys use DiNucci.

While it may be a far fetch to look at DiNucci as the replacement for Dak, the same was said about Dak replacing quarterback Tony Romo. It should not be ruled out, especially if Dak and owner Jerry Jones can’t agree on a long-term contract.

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With no preseason games being played this season, I am curious to see how Dallas will utilize DiNucci. Now, it looks like the coaching staff would need to be overly confident in him, or there would need to be an injury to Dak if we are to see DiNucci take the field this season.