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Dak Prescott for MVP in 2017? One NFC scout thinks so

Can the former fourth-round selection win the MVP in his second season in the NFL?

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As Dak Prescott prepares for his first full training camp as the lead guy in Dallas, the star quarterback is generating some hype in NFC circles. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman posted his weekly 10-point stance earlier today. There was one interesting tidbit pertaining to the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

One NFC scout, according to Freeman, believes Dak Prescott will take home MVP honors this season. Yes, over the great Tom Brady and the PackersAaron Rodgers.

2. Scout: Dak Prescott will win MVP over Aaron Rodgers

From an NFC scout: "This will be a tight MVP race. I think Prescott wins a close one."

Sounds unlikely. Probably is. But this scout has nailed a lot of these MVP races before.

His MVP rankings:

1. Prescott: "I can see him getting literally twice as good as he was last season. [He] still has that great offensive line."

2. Aaron Rodgers: "Will probably win it. I know. Or [Tom] Brady. Prescott just impresses me."

3. Tom Brady: "Insane to put him third, but I think voters will just get tired of him winning and want to give it to someone else."

4. Matt Ryan: "Always puts up big numbers."

5. Russell Wilson: "Big-time sleeper candidate."

That is high praise coming from a scout within the same conference that Dak and the Cowboys play in. How likely is Dak winning the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award, though?

Last season, the Mississippi State product took the NFL world by storm. Alongside rookie teammate Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott took the Dallas Cowboys on an unforgettable ride during the 2016 season. Week in and week out, Prescott made big play after big play that helped the Cowboys win eleven consecutive games — tied for the most in the franchise’s rich history.

Dak broke rookie record after rookie record. Prescott’s 67.8 completion percentage, 23-4 TD-INT ratio, and 104.9 passer rating are all rookie records. He also tied Ben Roethlisberger’s 13 wins for the most by a rookie quarterback, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl for his remarkable debut campaign. His first season on the professional level was nothing short of historic.

Naturally, the topic of the offseason surrounding Dak Prescott has been whether or not he can repeat, or even improve on, his rookie success. Players such as Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and Nick Foles are just three examples of quarterbacks that flamed out after early success. Given that Dak was a fourth-round selection and originally the QB3 on the roster, many in the media are expecting — maybe even hoping — Dak to struggle in year two.

Last week, Cowboys writers Rob Philips and Bryan Broaddus were asked about Dak potentially suffering a ‘sophomore slump’. Both Philips and Broaddus say ‘there is no question’ that Dak can take his performance to another level. Philips points out that Dak’s chip is a motivator. Broaddus says look at the Green Bay game.

Rob Philips: Fans should be excited that we’re even discussing this. Why? Because Prescott feeds off skepticism. Some thought he couldn’t play quarterback at the college level. Same thing last year as he slipped to the fourth round. Talking to people close to him over the last year, he’s honestly one of the most motivated players I’ve covered in this organization. It’s not an outward chip on his shoulder, more of a quiet strength.

Bryan Broaddus: There is no question that Dak Prescott can take his game to a higher level. Just go back to that playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Game on the line, high pressure situation going toe to toe with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play says a lot about him. He will not only build on the successes that he had during his rookie season but he will grow from that game where he came up a little short.

Blogging The Boys’ own Tom Ryle read Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians’ new book. In his book, titled “The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback”, Arians lays out the different aspects that make a great quarterback in the NFL. Ryle points out that one of the key elements, heart, is a huge part of Dak Prescott.

In more detail, here are the key elements of a quarterback’s makeup that Arians looks for, and how they apply to Prescott.

There is little doubt that Prescott has that kind of heart, and it was fully on display during his years as the quarterback at Mississippi State. He has just continued to do that as a member of the Cowboys. He became the face of the franchise almost overnight, and he has done a marvelous job with it, attested to by his winning the ESPY as the Breakthrough Athlete of the year.

What does this all mean?

Well, Dak Prescott is set up for success. Not just now, but for the foreseeable future for the Dallas Cowboys. Dak has Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan calling the shots and grooming his development, Ezekiel Elliott beside in him in the backfield, a plethora of weapons to throw the ball to, and the Great Wall of Dallas protecting him.

He proved to the world that no moment is too big for him. Whether it was going into Green Bay without Dez Bryant, a back-and-forth battle with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, or a much-needed bounce-back performance against the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football, Dak showed up. When the Cowboys fell behind the Packers 21-3 in the playoffs, all Prescott did was lead a dramatic comeback that saw him tossing touchdowns and running in a two-point conversion to tie up the game. He proved to his critics that he has what it takes to be an elite quarterback in crucial moments.

Our friends over at Field Gulls wrote that Dak Prescott is better than Derek Carr and that it’s “not even close”. Ben Baldwin breaks down his opinion on two of the emerging superstars in the National Football League:

The Film: Short summary: Dak can do everything Carr can do, but Carr cannot do everything Dak can do. Dak’s mobility offers advantages in play calling diversity (bootlegs, moving the pocket, read option, etc.) as well as the opportunity to pick up 1st downs by scrambling when no one is open downfield. Below I will highlight some of what Dak offers that explains his large statistical advantage over Carr even though they play with similarly talented teammates.

Here is what Baldwin wrote on Dak’s ability to hurt defenses with his feet — an element that can only help Dak’s chances in winning the MVP honor.

Rushing value: One of the most frustrating things about popular discourse surrounding quarterbacks is the complete disregard of a QB’s rushing value. In terms of expected points added through the ground, Prescott was #3 in the NFL and Carr was dead last out of 30 qualified QBs. Carr gained 5 first downs (0 TDs) on 38 rushing attempts (13% of rushes for 1st downs), while Prescott gained 21 first downs (6 TDs) on 57 rushing attempts (37%). This is somewhat puzzling given that Carr ran a faster 40 and had a higher vertical leap at the combine than Prescott, so he’s not exactly at an athletic disadvantage.

Baldwin’s piece is very insightful and is a great read. Prescott will need to show that he can continue improving before many put him ahead of the Raiders’ gunslinger, but the numbers stack up favorably for Dak. The two will likely be in the thick of the MVP battle all season long, assuming both them and their teams take another step forward in 2017.

Dak showed that he can carry a team. He proved that at Haughton High School, again at Mississippi State, and now with the most recognizable brand in all of sports. While many are hoping for him to fail, Dak Prescott is only starting his journey in the National Football League.

While winning the NFL’s most prestigious award is difficult, Dak Prescott will have the opportunity to put his name in the hat. The Cowboys have big time matchups early with the Giants, Broncos, and Cardinals. Dallas closes with New York, the Raiders, and the Seahawks. That is a lot of opportunities to prove he is among the NFL’s elite. After being overlooked for years and years, Dak Prescott has all of the spotlight on him.

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