After months and months without many sports and an August with no preseason games, the anticipation for the Cowboys to return to the football field is higher than ever. For the time being, all we have to look forward to is Twitter videos and general comments from the team’s beat reporters and writers.
It’s no surprise that the offense has received some strong reviews from those that have had the opportunity to watch practices. The Big Three at wide receiver and the backfield duo offer a lot of intrigue for McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to work with. The potential rise of Blake Jarwin and the battles along the offensive line are other storylines to keep an eye on.
Really, though, the biggest storyline for the upcoming season is none other than quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott, who is coming off a career season throwing the ball, is entering his second consecutive “prove it” year as he and the Cowboys failed to agree to a long-term extension this summer.
Prescott is without a doubt one of the most polarizing players in the National Football League, if not all of sports. Everybody has an opinion on where he ranks at the quarterback position and whether or not the Cowboys should pay him big money.
Numerous positional rankings have been published this offseason, most notably from ESPN and The Athletic. Both outlets ranked Prescott among the better signal-callers across the league — 12th on The Athletic, 10th on ESPN. For The Win’s Steven Ruiz joined in on the fun and tried his hand at ranking the league’s starting quarterbacks from one to 32. Ruiz explained the process that led to the rankings:
For this year’s rankings, I’ve viewed every quarterback evaluated below through that lens. After studying the film of every projected starter, I gave each of them a grade from 1-100 in three categories:
Process: Everything that leads up to a throw, which includes the quarterback’s pre-snap routine, pocket management and reading of the defense.
Throws: You could also use the term “arm talent” for this one. The grade is based on both accuracy and arm strength. Can this quarterback get the ball to his intended target no matter where it is on the field?
Creativity: A quarterback who can run his offense efficiently is to be valued, but what happens when things don’t go as planned? And does the quarterback possess unique ability — such as Lamar Jackson’s mobility or Drew Brees’ computer-like processing — that allows his coaches to employ tactics that others cannot?
These grades were based solely on film study.
Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson led the way, while Mitchell Trubisky and Tyrod Taylor found themselves at the bottom of Ruiz’s rankings. Prescott, meanwhile, landed very high on the list. Ruiz even goes as far as to say “good luck finding a major weakness” in Dak’s game.
6. Dak Prescott
Good luck finding a major weakness in Dak Prescott’s game. That’s especially difficult after 2019, with Dak speeding up his processing time and shoring up his accuracy. Of the younger generation of quarterbacks, the Cowboys star might be the most well-rounded passer of the bunch. He’s sharp before and after the snap. He is comfortable going his progressions from a tight pocket. He pushes the ball downfield but is willing to settle for a check down when the situation calls for it. He’s just a complete quarterback. Jerry Jones’ reluctance to pay Dak says more about him than it does his quarterback.
Ruiz gives Prescott a score (out of 100) of 90 for “Process”, 90 for “Throws”, and 85 for “Creativity”.
As mentioned before, Prescott had the most success of his career while throwing the football in 2019, as he threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns while helping both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup be 1,000-yard pass-catchers. Despite the team missing out on the playoffs after a strong finish to the 2018 campaign, the offense was among the best in the league and Prescott was a major factor in why.
Dak couldn’t drop these in any better from a hot air balloonpic.twitter.com/Wz96CJK43E— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 4, 2020
The hiring of Mike McCarthy and the continuity and creativeness that comes with Kellen Moore as play-caller should help Prescott build on his 2019 success and take another step in his development as an unquestioned franchise signal-caller. The addition of CeeDee Lamb probably won’t hurt, either.
The five quarterbacks ranked ahead of Prescott are as followed (from five to one): Drew Brees, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes. Pretty strong company for the face of the Dallas Cowboys to be mentioned alongside.
Regardless of where you think Dak falls in the quarterback rankings, we can all agree that September 13th needs to get here quicker.