ESPN has been doing a ranking of players by position for the past week or so, and today they’ve come to the all-important quarterback spot. No position holds more weight on an NFL team than quarterback; it is the foundation of a team in the modern NFL.
The Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott, recently signed a mega-contract that will keep him in Dallas for the next four years. That signing sparked off another round of debate over just how good is Prescott compared to his colleagues. This has been a constant debate around Prescott since he came into the league and not one that will resolve itself anytime soon.
But, for the record, the ESPN rankings place Prescott as the seventh-best quarterback heading into 2021. Their methodology included coaches, players and execs:
Here’s how our process worked: [Over 50] voters gave us their best 10 to 15 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, and interviews, research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. We had several ties, so we broke them by isolating the two-man matchup with additional voting and follow-up calls.
Here’s what they had to say about Prescott.
Highest ranking: 7 | Lowest ranking: 14
Age: 27 | Last year’s ranking: 9
Prescott surpassed Lamar Jackson in a close race that prompted an isolated matchup with new voters for good measure. For some, the reasoning was simple.
“Lamar is a better all-around football player, Dak is the better QB,” one AFC exec said.
Prescott’s ankle injury didn’t hurt his standing. In fact, it might have helped, placing a focus on his stellar production in the five games before the injury. Prescott threw for 1,856 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions before falling to the turf in Week 5. The Cowboys were first in passing yards per game with Prescott (381.4) and 28th without him (204.9).
“He, individually, was pretty impressive,” said a veteran NFL quarterback. “Couldn’t do better than that. It was high-level play.”
Prescott, however, has not always been great against high-level teams. In 2019, Dallas was 1-6 against opponents that made the playoffs, with Prescott throwing for eight touchdowns to eight interceptions in those matchups. Against non-playoff teams, Prescott cleaned up, with 22 touchdowns to three interceptions and a 7-2 record. For his career, Prescott is 9-17 against eventual playoff teams. Of course, the Cowboys’ defense has been a major issue the past few seasons too.
That record will change with better a Dallas defense around him, some voters say.
“He can throw it deep into the playoffs because of his ability to be accurate from the pocket at all levels and also extend plays with his legs,” a veteran NFL quarterback said.
The Cowboys defense has certainly been a factor in the Cowboys record, along with injuries. But slow starts by the offense, some questionable coaching along the way, and a variety of penalty/turnover issues have plagued the Cowboys.
The consensus around the NFL is that Prescott is easily a Top-10 QB who could ascend even higher with some significant team success. Maybe 2021 will be the year for that.
For the record, the quarterbacks ranked ahead of Prescot were: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford.