The quality of who Dak Prescott is as a starting quarterback in the National Football League is something that has come under fire a lot recently (not that it was ever not under fire, to be honest).
It’s not shocking that this most recent round of Dak discussion, number 538,229 by my count, has been brought on by the report (that later had a few opposing it) regarding how much Prescott’s camp is seeking as an average salary on his potential new contract.
Putting a dollar value on things establishes a sense of worth, that’s undeniable. While some believe it’s “worth” it to pay Dak market value (not necessarily $40M per year, but the neighborhood of market rate) there are also those who believe it’s more “worth” it to move on from him and try to draft another signal-caller for the Cowboys.
Drafting a quarterback, drafting anything, is so difficult. It’s a calculated science (and sometimes a lot of luck, that’s arguable in the case of Dak incidentally) that requires enormous studying and analyzing. It’s hardly an easy thing.
This made me curious so I decided to look back at drafting a quarterback has gone over the last five years (five felt like a good sample size). I’ve listed every quarterback drafted between 2014 and 2018 leaving this season’s rookies off of the list because we haven’t seen them get any NFL action. There are guys who you can easily chalk up to be busts, guys who are still hanging on, players who are unequivocally better than Prescott, and quarterbacks who are still at a place where it’s fair to be undecided on.
Drafted QBs, 2014 to 2018
|1 through 29||30 through 58|
|1 through 29||30 through 58|
|Blake Bortles||Kevin Hogan|
|Johnny Manziel||Nate Sudfeld|
|Teddy Bridgewater||Jake Rudock|
|Derek Carr||Brandon Allen|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||Jeff Driskel|
|Logan Thomas||Brandon Doughty|
|Tom Savage||Mitchell Trubisky|
|Aaron Murray||Patrick Mahomes|
|A.J. McCarron||Deshaun Watson|
|Zach Mettenberger||DeShone Kizer|
|David Fales||Davis Webb|
|Keith Wenning||C.J. Beathard|
|Tajh Boyd||Josh Dobbs|
|Garrett Gilbert||Nathan Peterman|
|Jameis Winston||Brad Kaaya|
|Marcus Mariota||Chad Kelly|
|Garrett Grayson||Baker Mayfield|
|Sean Mannion||Sam Darnold|
|Bryce Petty||Josh Allen|
|Brett Hundley||Josh Rosen|
|Trevor Siemian||Lamar Jackson|
|Jared Goff||Mason Rudolph|
|Carson Wentz||Kyle Lauletta|
|Paxton Lynch||Mike White|
|Christian Hackenberg||Luke Falk|
|Jacoby Brissett||Tanner Lee|
|Cody Kessler||Danny Etling|
|Connor Cook||Alex McCough|
|Cardale Jones||Logan Woodside|
How many of these 58 would you absolutely take over Dak Prescott today?
As mentioned, there are obvious answers to that. The league’s reigning MVP Pat Mahomes is the easiest decision to make, and then there are plenty of folks who are high on quarterbacks like Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, and Baker Mayfield.
The purpose of this exercise is simply to look back at the number of quarterbacks taken, in a sense the number of lottery tickets purchased, to see just how rarely they ultimately pan out. Consider that even a first-round quarterback from just two years ago, Josh Rosen, has already been dismissed by many, including the team that selected him in the Arizona Cardinals (granted they did so to pursue a better option).
Whether you’re his biggest fan or harshest critic, it feels fair to admit overall that the Cowboys were fortunate to land Dak Prescott when they did three years ago. All of that being said, where does he rank among these quarterbacks for you? How many would you take over him today?