Cowboys’ Dak Prescott falls in QB rankings despite record-breaking year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 08: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys scrambles against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 08: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys scrambles against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

For the past week, ESPN has been releasing its top 10 rankings for each position group in the NFL. Some of the results have sparked controversy (just ask Jayron Kearse) but others seem right on target. Many members of the Dallas Cowboys have been present on each of the top 10 lists, and if not those, at least the honorable mentions.

ESPN runs these rankings by having over 50 NFL coaches, scouts, and executives vote on their top 10 players from any given position. Candidates are then ranked based on how many top-10 votes they receive and the average spot they landed in.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott did make the list, but some were a bit thrown off by the fact that his ranking number dropped from last year. Last time, the 28-year-old was deemed the seventh-best quarterback in the league. That seemed a bit of a stretch considering he hadn’t played football since October of 2020 and nobody knew how he’d return from an injury that required multiple surgeries.

This year, he ended up in the No. 10 spot. Here is the final list:

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  3. Josh Allen, Bills
  4. Tom Brady, Bucs
  5. Joe Burrow, Bengals
  6. Matthew Stafford, Rams
  7. Justin Herbert, Chargers
  8. Russell Wilson, Broncos
  9. Deshaun Watson, Browns
  10. Dak Prescott, Cowboys

While there are a lot of mediocre starting quarterbacks in this league, deciphering between the top talent is always hard. But at first glance, seeing Deshaun Watson (who hasn’t stepped on a football field since 2020) in the top 10 and Tom Brady ranked lower than he ever has been feels off. Let’s also not forget the elephant in the room that Lamar Jackson didn’t even make the list.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott drops three spots in ESPN rankings despite a record-breaking season

Let’s be clear. We know Prescott wasn’t a top-five QB last year. However, he did lead his team to the playoffs, had an incredibly impressive return after injury, had his second-highest amount of passing yards in his career, and broke Tony Romo’s record for most touchdowns in a season. How does a campaign like that knock you down three spots?

There’s also the fact that heading into 2022, Prescott finally will have had  a fully healthy offseason and has already been getting far more reps in than he was ever able to get last year. With plans to have the Cowboys QB use his legs even more thanks to a clean bill of health, why would voters think Prescott’s production or value descreased heading into 2022.

Sure, there is a lot of young talent like Burrow, Herbert, and Allen who have climbed the rankings, but the Cowboys passer could still be at least seventh or eighth on this list. Here’s the reasoning ESPN gave in the article:

"Voters pointed to Prescott’s consistency, helping him beat out other top-tier passers here. Though the Cowboys quarterback did not receive a single top-five vote, he was a fixture in the Nos. 7 to 10 range, helping him outdistance Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson for the last spot in the composite rankings.“A good but not great QB; he has to play well in the playoffs,” an NFC exec said. “Has to prove [he] can take them to the next level. He’s not in the top echelon.”His résumé speaks to that: very good but not great. Prescott had the fourth-most passing touchdowns (37) in 2021. He ranked fourth in the NFL in completion percentage (68.8%) and QBR from inside the pocket (65.5), numbers that showcase his ability to work through progressions. And he is 53-32 as a starter since entering the league in 2017.“He has good poise in [the pocket], sturdy,” an NFL offensive coach said. “Always been deadly when they space the field in empty. Sometimes needs an extra hitch to confirm things, but he’s typically a good decision-maker in their dropback game.”"

Consistency is certainly something Prescott needs to work on. He started 2021 in the MVP conversation and then slowly fizzled out and was accused of being in a slump (although he did strain his calf towards the beginning of the season).

Do you think these rankings represent the Cowboys’ QB well amongst his peers? Let us know your thoughts!