The Dallas Cowboys did not sign Dak Prescott to a long-term deal, leaving the quarterback to play under the franchise tag for the upcoming season. It’s a little mind-boggling as to what the front office’s plans are regarding Prescott as the future becomes a little hazy.
Unfortunately, the pondering of such is going to last another eight months as we wait for the next opportunity to negotiate with Prescott. For now, it appears like the front office is playing with fire as the previous two quarterbacks who played under the tag (Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins) did not sign long-term deals with the team that drafted them. It’s hard not to think the front office made a mistake with this one.
Here are 20 un-doctored statistics showing how Mr. Prescott is pretty fantastic...
Let’s kick this thing off by checking in with that 2016 draft class.
1. Dak has more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff.
Prescott was selected 135th overall, which I’m told is much later than first overall. If you want to point out that Dak has the “total games played” advantage over Goff because the Rams quarterback only started seven games his rookie season (and lost every one of them), that’s fine. However, that same logic doesn’t really explain why Dak’s interception totals are lower. Throwing only four picks his rookie season - that certainly helps explains it.
2. His completion percentage over expected is nearly identical to Carson Wentz from 20 to 40 yards through the air, but it’s higher in all other ranges.
Carson Wentz was selected second overall in the same draft. We’ll just leave this little graphic right here (courtesy of @nflfastR)
3. In fact, Prescott was top four in QBR from inside the pocket on throws of 20 or more yards in 2019.
While the 2016 QB draft trio will be forever attached in the conversation, we have to extend this comparison beyond just Goff/Wentz to get a sense of how good Prescott really is.
4. He has more rushing touchdowns than all seven of the quarterbacks drafted ahead of him.
If it wasn’t for Jacoby Brissett’s nine rushing touchdowns throughout his career that brings the first seven quarterback’s total to 18, Dak’s 21 rushing TDs would be running away with it. And while we know what matters the most for a quarterback is his arm, the last two league MVP’s can attest to just how valuable it is having quarterback who can move around.
Mobility is nice.
5. He has more passing yards than any quarterback selected in his draft class, with over 1,500-yards past the next closest guy (Jared Goff).
This is pure volume that is aided by Prescott playing more games, but his draft class buddies aren’t doing much to close the gap. Of course, Dak averaged over 300 yards a game last season, which is more than both Goff and Wentz averaged so good luck catching him.
6. Since entering the league in 2016, no other quarterback on his current team has more wins than Dak Prescott.
Tom Brady actually has more wins than Dak in this time span, so lets be fair there. That’s not surprising because the Patriots are really good. Of course, Brady’s current team now is Tampa Bay. You won’t find guys like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, or Matt Ryan ahead of Prescott. Winning is a team achievement, but you can’t argue the fact that the Cowboys, with Dak, win football games.
7. He has more touchdown passes before the age of 27 than Tony Romo, Troy Aikman, and Roger Staubach combined!
Yes, we realize that Staubach went into the Navy, and Romo sat with a clipboard for a few years, so this stat isn’t as jaw-dropping as it’s made out to be. It still has meaning because it’s important to appreciate just how great Prescott has been out of the gate. And of course, this helps...
8. He’s never missed a game as he’s started all 64 games since entering the league.
You can’t spell availability without ability. When you’re paying a quarterback that much of your salary cap budget, being on the field means a bunch.
Okay, let’s get to the good stuff...
9. Dak was absolute money throwing to his right.
Look at Prescott’s passer rating splits when throwing to different parts of the field. The fact that this just so happens to look like a green four and that money is green is purely coincidental.
Prescott loves to throw to the outside. In fact (bonus stat), he had the most touchdowns (17) when targeting players lined up outside last season.
10. According to Next Gen Stats, Prescott was ranked fourth in the league in completion percentage over expected on tight window targets with less than three yards of separation.
Prescott doesn’t get recognized for “throwing his receivers open” as he’s been labeled as more of a “find the guy who’s wide open” passer. Regardless, Dak is pretty good at delivering dimes.
11. The only quarterback who has more touchdown passes of 30 or more yards in the past two seasons is a guy who just got a new half a billion dollar contract.
That’s right. Prescott’s 16 touchdowns of 30 yards or more is only eclipsed by Patrick Mahomes (20), who just got his big pay day last week.
Bonus stat: Prescott (24) and Mahomes (30) are the only two quarterbacks with more than 20 passing touchdowns outside the red zone over the past two seasons. These guys like to take shots at the end zone.
But, we can go even deeper than that...
12. He had more completions of 40+ yards last season than any quarterback in the league.
Not even “Showtime” Mahomes has Dak beat in this category. Thanks for nothing, Tyreek Hill.
Most completions of 40+ yards in 2019:— PFF (@PFF) July 2, 2020
▫️ Dak Prescott -16
▫️ Patrick Mahomes - 15 pic.twitter.com/pkhcEgkyMm
13. In fact, he was the best deep ball passer last season, which is pretty good for a guy who supposedly is not a good deep ball passer.
14. Contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t require a clean pocket to flourish. His 1,259 passing yards when under pressure ranked 3rd in the NFL last season.
Prescott has a good offensive line, and every quarterback loves to have that, but he’s shown he can be pretty good under pressure.
15. No quarterback threw for more touchdowns under pressure last season than Prescott.
Not only did Dak finish third in yards when being pressured, but he found the end zone 10 times in those situations, most in the league.
16. He was 98 yards short of a 5,000 yard season despite his receivers dropping the most passes (43) in the NFL last year.
Imagine what could have been had his receivers done a better job catching passes last season. It should then come as no surprise that...
17. He had the most air yards lost from drop passes last season.
If he would’ve had just two more yards passing, he would’ve set the Cowboys franchise record (over Romo) for most yards in a single season. Something tells me he’ll get another crack at it.
18. Dak does many things, but making a lot of bad throws isn’t one of them.
Prescott threw 596 passes last year, which was the sixth-most in the league, yet he doesn’t make this list for the most bad throws.
19. He’s fourth all-time in completion percentage.
Dak supporters do a good job pointing out his accuracy year in and year out. While the sample size is small, he now has over 2,000 passes under his belt and he’s managed to have a better completion percentage than Rodgers, Brady, Manning I, Manning II...well, everyone except for the three quarterbacks ahead of him (shout out to Brees and Kirk Cousins who are ahead of him).
20. He’s fifth all-time in passer rating.
While we’re on the subject of efficiency, Prescott is in some good company with Rodgers (1st), Wilson (2nd), Brees (3rd), and even Romo (4th) when it comes career NFL passer rating. He’s actually tied with Brady with a 97.0 passer rating. Again, it’s just a four year sample size, but he’s off to a great start.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate what the Cowboys have behind center, at least for one more year.