With the NFL Draft just a month away, the Dallas Cowboys are looking at areas of their roster they can improve when it comes time to make their selections. Today, we start our pre-draft positional breakdown series, examining where things stand position-wise before the draft. We kick off our series by taking a look at the quarterbacks, one of Dallas’ better position groups on the roster.
The Starter: Dak Prescott will be back as the Cowboys' starting quarterback for the eighth consecutive season in 2023. Although he did throw a career-high 15 interceptions last season, Prescott played at a very high level when he was not turning over the football.
From Week 1 through the Super Bowl, (of QBs who played 475 or more snaps), Prescott was fifth in EPA + CPOE (0.123), third in Adj EPA/Play (0.201), fourth in EPA/Play (0.175), and second in Success Rate (52.5%).
Prescott also played arguably the best game of his career in Dallas’ Wild Card victory over the Buccaneers. The signal-caller completed 25 of his 33 passes and was responsible for five total touchdowns. His Quarterback Rating of 143.3 was tied for the fourth-highest of his career.
Despite what the outside narrative may be, Prescott is likely the third-best quarterback in the NFC. Outside of a select few teams, nearly every organization in the league would want Prescott as their quarterback if they had the opportunity.
Turnovers are the only thing stopping Prescott from going from very good to borderline great. If Dak can clean up the turnovers in 2023, he has a chance to be one of the five best quarterbacks in all of football.
The Backup: At the conclusion of the 2022 season, it seemed like there was a good chance that Cooper Rush had taken his last snap as a Dallas Cowboy.
Rush’s 2022 campaign featured much more game time than he or anyone in the Cowboys’ organization likely would he envisioned at the start of the year. The veteran was thrust into action in Week 1 of the regular season after Prescott went down with a broken thumb.
While Rush certainly didn’t light up the stat sheet during his time as the starter, he did post a 4-1 record in five games and kept Dallas’ playoff hopes alive until Prescott was able to return in Week 7.
There’s always a market for quarterbacks, and it seemed likely another team would price Dallas out of retaining the veteran for the 2023 season. However, the Cowboys made Rush more of a priority than most believed they would, and the team signed him to a two-year, $5M deal this March to bring him back.
Rush will never be a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, but he’s about as good of a backup as you could wish for. He has starting experience, has won games at the highest level, and does not turn the football over.
The Rest: Outside of Prescott and Rush, the Cowboys have one other quarterback currently on the roster, 27-year-old Will Grier. The former third-round pick has played in just two games during his NFL career but has shown enough potential that the Cowboys have felt the need to keep him around for the past two seasons.
It seems very likely the Cowboys will select a quarterback in the later rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft to compete with Grier for a potential spot on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.
Positional Grade: B+
The Cowboys currently have a top 6-10 starting quarterback in all of football and a top three backup. Not many organizations can say that.