It certainly wasn’t meant to go this way. When the Dallas Cowboys drafted quarterback Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, it was for future use only. No one thought he would play in the 2016 season. He was behind Tony Romo, who was firmly entrenched as the starter and franchise quarterback. He was also behind Kellen Moore, firmly entrenched as the backup. 2016 was supposed to be a learning year for Prescott. Two injuries later, Prescott was on his way to being Rookie of the Year.
The first inkling that Prescott might be something special was the first preseason game when he went 10 for 12 with two touchdowns, including dropping an absolute dime to Terrance Williams. From there it just never stopped.
Prescott tied the rookie record for quarterback wins in a season with 13. He set a record for most passes without an interception to start a career at 176, breaking Tom Brady’s record. He completed 67.8% of his passes, best ever by a rookie. He threw 23 touchdowns versus only four interceptions, best ever TD/INT ratio by a rookie. He finished with a 104.9 passer rating, highest ever for a rookie ever. He also rushed for six touchdowns.
Those are the stats. What you can’t measure is the intangibles, like the poise with which he plays. He never gets ruffled, he always appears in control. This gives him the confidence to lead some improbable comebacks like the ones against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He almost pulled off the same feat in the playoff game against Green Bay. All of this as a rookie.
With knowledge of the offense, and the confidence that comes with playing against NFL competition, Prescott should only get better in the 2017 season. For a player that was supposed to be an afterthought in 2016, he sure has placed himself in the forefront of NFL quarterbacks.
When accepting the award, Prescott made the point that he would want to cut the award in half and give the other part to Ezekiel Elliott.
Congrats Dak, here’s looking forward to the next decade or so.