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Cowboys Dak Prescott comes in just inside top 10 of ESPN’s collective ranking of position

NFL minds value Dak Prescott as a top 10 quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

One of, if not the, most divisive subjects in the NFL has a lot to do with something we care a lot about, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. There is never universal agreement on who lines up at center for Dallas. He is either too highly rated, too lowly rated, does something too much, doesn’t do something often enough, heavy is the head that wears the Star.

As we have noted several times over the offseason, Dak Prescott is officially now the longest-tenured starting quarterback with his respective team across the entire league. This means that no fan base has been arguing about their current quarterback longer than we have. Yay us.

Today’s argument centers around where Dak ranks relative to other quarterbacks in the league. Surely everyone will agree!

Dak Prescott was ranked 9th by ESPN’s group of executives, coaches and scouts

Something I have said before is that Dak is unequivocally within the top 7-8 quarterbacks in the NFL at any given moment but that things change a bit on a week to week basis. Sometimes Dak creeps closer to top 5 territory, other weeks he is down a bit. Shocker here, but this is the case for every player in the NFL, not just quarterbacks. There is a bit of a plus-minus range that needs to accompany every sort of ranking to adjust for the rigors of a season.

Lists don’t care about ranges, though. Lists are meant to be picked apart or applauded, and as of late ESPN has been churning out a lot of them with their collection of executives, coaches and scouts that voted in order to put together a ranking at every position (they had Zack Martin as the top interior offensive lineman for what it is worth).

Monday the worldwide leader released their quarterback rankings and Dak Prescott came in at number 9, shout out to his predecessor Tony Romo.

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  4. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
  5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  8. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
  9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  10. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Highest ranking: 7 | Lowest ranking: Unranked

Age: 29 | Last year’s ranking: 10

One of the most polarizing figures on this list each year, Prescott remains a fringe top-10 passer — consistently voted in, yet never considered in the upper echelon. He appeared on nearly 60% of the ballots but not higher than seventh in any ranking.

His 15 interceptions — tied for worst in the league despite missing five games with a fractured thumb — was a cloud that hung over him.

“He just wasn’t seeing the field well last year,” an NFL personnel evaluator said. “Wasn’t as decisive as in the past.”

The turnovers haven’t hampered Prescott’s scoring prowess. His 82.5 QBR from the red zone ranks third among qualified quarterbacks. He threw a touchdown on 5.8% of his passing attempts last season, the fourth-highest rate in the NFL. And he has serious chemistry with CeeDee Lamb, posting a 93 QBR when targeting Lamb, compared to 57 when targeting other Cowboys.

Without coordinator Kellen Moore for the first time since 2018, Prescott will look to find synergy with coach and playcaller Mike McCarthy, who plans to utilize the running game more.

“He’s been a top-10 quarterback for a few years now,” an AFC executive said. “Part of his game that was so great was the ability to run the ball and throw more play-action off that. They didn’t have that as much with weapons on [the] outside. But I’m not down on him. He’s accurate, he can extend and make plays. He’s elite in his decision-making.”

The first sentence here does a lot to encapsulate the Dak Prescott experience: polarizing, very good, has his flaws like everyone else, often left out of the top-tier discussion.

By most objective measurements Dak is indeed a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and as we have talked about many times this offseason as well, he is at worst the second-best quarterback in the NFC. This list obviously is representative of those ideas.

Where the problem often lies in terms of argument and discussion is the intensity that certain things reach. Last year Prescott unfortunately threw a lot of interceptions and as turnovers are a serious no-no in this game that opens the door for extreme (and justified) criticism of his game.

Prescott has obviously been an insane value for the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick, heck he’s the only one on this list taken beyond the second round (Hurts is the only other non-first rounder himself as a second-round selection back in 2020). The Cowboys are a volatile and polarizing team by their nature so Dak having so much success without the ultimate success and owning an seven-year piece of the ongoing drought leads to the way things often tend to go.

But NFL minds believe that Dak is a top 10 quarterback.

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