Dak Prescott put up a lot of really good statistics in the 2019 season. He almost topped 5,000 yards, threw a career-high 30 touchdowns, and completed over 65% of his passes, among other appealing stats. Despite all that, Prescott has a reputation as a quarterback who doesn’t throw the deep ball well. Turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
NFL.com highlighted Dak Prescott as the best deep ball passer of 2019
There are a lot of great quarterbacks in the National Football League and there are some that are particularly great at throwing very far downfield, however, in 2019, there were none better at doing that than Dak Prescott. From NFL.com:
Comp pct: 44.4.
Expected comp pct: 31.
Difference: +13.4 percentage points.
TD-to-INT ratio: 6:2.
Passer rating: 109.7.
Surprised? Cowboys fans might not be, but I’m sure plenty of you are. This will be an interesting exercise because plenty of those reading will be upset by Dak’s No. 1 ranking. But look: This is what the numbers say. No one was better at exceeding passing expectations on deep balls in 2019 than Prescott.
The fine folks embedded in the Next Gen Stats bunker took the time to poke their heads above the blinking lights and buttons to tell me this metric was designed to best capture how well a quarterback is playing when also considering the surrounding circumstances. Even with their amount of talent, the Cowboys weren’t a great team in 2019. Prescott’s receiving corps relied mostly on Amari Cooper — who was very efficient on deep targets, catching 12 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns — Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb, with a very rare contribution from Tavon Austin. First-round pick CeeDee Lamb should make life better for Prescott in 2020, and if he can continue to complete unlikely deep passes better than most, this Dallas offense might become really explosive. But again, this is also about making the most of surrounding circumstances, and Prescott excelled in that department in 2019.
“This is what the numbers say” is an important part of the grading here. Objectively, from a purely data-driven standpoint, Dak Prescott was literally the best deep ball passer in the NFL last season.
This particular data set eliminates attempts below 20 air yards so that is worth considering, and it also leans heavily on expected completion percentage (this helps attribute for drops that all quarterbacks experience from their wide receivers). Obviously, the Cowboys featured one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL last season and it is clear that a lot of it, not all, was because of what Prescott was able to do far down the field through the air.
By most measures, Dak Prescott is one of the top young quarterbacks in the National Football League. The Cowboys are fortunate to have Dak Prescott, hopefully for the long term.