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What Do The Cowboys See In Dak Prescott?

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Dallas has shown a lot of interest in Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. What are they looking at?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have shown considerable interest in Dak Prescott. Three times now, Cowboys coaches and staff have spent time with the young man and it appears they like him as a later round developmental quarterback. Can he develop?

He certainly has nice athleticism with good combine numbers all around. He might be a little small at 6' 2", 226 pounds, but he has a solid build and plays with physical strength when he runs. Which, by the way, he is pretty good at, having led the team in both passing and rushing his last two years at the school. Furthermore, he shows good smarts and dedication. He won an award as a scholar athlete and his completion percentage went up every year he started, as the table below shows:

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD INT Rate
2012 12 18 29 62.1 194 6.7 9.4 4 0 163.8
2013 11 156 267 58.4 1940 7.3 6.8 10 7 126.6
2014 13 244 396 61.6 3449 8.7 8.8 27 11 151.7
2015 13 316 477 66.2 3793 8.0 8.7 29 5 151
Career 49 734 1169 62.8 9376 8.0 8.3 70 23 146

He also definitely shifted from running to passing through his tenure as a starter, but remained a significant running threat near the goal line, with double digit rushing touchdowns each of his starting seasons. Finally, he has monster hands, which seems to have been a point of emphasis since the combine. But he remains a later round developmental prospect for a reason. I took a look at a couple of his games to see what he brings to the table.

Against LSU he had a decent game and led a nice comeback attempt, only to have it fall short because of a delay of game penalty at the edge of field goal range. Against Texas A&M he was much rougher, to my eyes. In both games his offensive line showed severe weaknesses and Prescott was under quite a bit of pressure. He did not generally handle it with the aplomb of a Jared Goff and he is a long way from Tony Romo in that respect. He does scan the field, and rarely locks in on a target unless it's a designed quick pass.  Unfortunately, his accruacy, largely as a result of his footwork, leaves a lot to be desired.

First, a typical Prescott play:

He takes the snap and hits a quick opener for a moderate gain. I saw a lot of this and it's probably just the nature of his offense.

But he's capable of nicer things like this little movement to a sharp throw:

Or here where he sets up right, but quickly comes back left to find an open De'Runnya Wilson for a good gain:

And, of course, everyone loves his ability to do this:

But, and I have to emphasize that this is a good thing, he has gotten away from that over the years.

Nonetheless, there is far too much of this:

Note the horrific foot placement as it leads to overthrowing a sure touchdown. Those opportunities come once in a blue moon in the NFL and you must take advantage. Failing to do so because you didn't set your feet is an inexcusable offense for an NFL quarterback.

But footwork is a matter of practice. If Prescott shows the determination to make his game better, he can overcome this defect in accuracy and the rest of the package (physicality, arm, mental acuity, and leadership) all seems to be there.

I think our early fourth round pick would be a little early to take him, but if he's there at the compensatory pick (and we didn't nab someone earlier in the draft), I'd be fine taking him and seeing what can be done with him.