There is something all too familiar happening in Dallas right now. If you don’t know what’s going on, if you haven’t the slightest idea of what I’m talking about, maybe toss in an old DVD of Any Given Sunday for a glimmer of the story line. Playing the part of Jack “Cap” Rooney will be Tony Romo. Playing the part of “Steamin” Willie Beamen will be Dak Prescott. Sit back with a glass of your finest beverage and get your popcorn ready. With the news that Tony Romo has broken a bone in his back, this is setting up to be one hell of a drama-filled show.
So, who is Dak Prescott?
Well, for starters, he was born Rayne Dakota Prescott on July 29, 1993. He was a star quarterback for the Haughton High School Buccaneers in Haughton, Louisiana. Dak was redshirted as a true freshman in 2011 at Mississippi State, before eventually splitting time with Tyler Russell through the 2012 and 2013 season. Taking over as full time starter in 2014, Prescott went on to have back-to-back outstanding seasons, breaking several records along the way. Although it may not be a big deal to some, the most notable statistic that stands out to me was the fact he improved his completion percentage every year from 2013 to 2015, finishing with a career best 66.2% completion percentage. In fact, he increased his passing numbers in nearly every category across the board every year from 2013 to 2015.
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Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, Dak was arrested and charged of driving under the influence in March 2016. Two days earlier, he had his Pro Day with mixed reviews, several scouts citing poor deep ball mechanics. Whether these red flags caused him to fall in the draft or not, Mr. Prescott’s name was eventually called at pick number 135, with the Dallas Cowboys taking a chance on the intriguing prospect. The stage is set, welcome to Jerry World!
So what’s to like about this guy? What does he struggle with? Well, I know the top end scouts have cited his poor mechanics as I noted before. It’s also been mentioned he’s better suited for a spread-attack offense, so it will be a hard transition into a pro-style offense. He also has issues when under pressure, lacking awareness to go through his progressions. In my opinion, sometimes you are only as good as the players you are playing around. For instance, my golf game. If I get on the links with some of hacker Sunday’s finest, I tend to play down to that level. But, if I get to play with some near scratch golfers, often times I play a bit better than my average and step up my game because I want to play better with those guys. Why can’t Dak be exactly that? With one of the best offensive lines in the game, a stable of solid running backs, and one of the truly elite wide receivers in the league, why can’t Dak step up his game to the talent around him? He’s certainly going to have a chance to do it.
I’ve watched all of his preseason action over and over several times. Although he wasn’t perfect in every play, he certainly has impressed so far. The two most notable plays I’ve seen thus far were his back shoulder throw for a touchdown to Dez Bryant, and more impressively, his floater of a pass dropped perfectly in stride to Terrance Williams for another score. I mean, seriously, that pass couldn’t have been thrown any better. He looks like he’s understanding the offense, he knows where he wants to go with the football, and he’s allowing his players to make plays. The touchdown throw to Dez was just that. It was not a perfect throw, but it was adequate and in a position to allow Dez to make a play. Often times you see rookie quarterbacks who are indecisive with their progressions, and hang onto the ball and get sacked often. Yes, I’m talking about you Jared Goff. You would typically expect a great prospect to stand out when they’re playing against the number two and three defenses. But, Dak is doing it against the one’s from the other team, and standing out against them. He even fared well against Seattle after Romo went down, going 17-for-23 for 116 yards and a touchdown (though a little underthrown) to Jason Witten.
I’m not one to go overly crazy about what Dak has done on the ground. Dating back to his high school days and all the way through college, he has always shown a true ability to be a threat running the football. I want to see him continue to progress as a passer, all the while knowing teams will have to honor his ability to break out of the pocket as well. If he can continue to produce like he is, then obviously Tony Romo’s permanent job might be in jeopardy at some point down the line. Dak’s ability to run is both a threat that NFL teams will have to game plan around, and a true bonus to his fantasy point scoring potential. With Romo out for a while, Prescott will have a golden opportunity.
With his hot start, Prescott’s draft position is certainly on the rise – Romo’s injury will only fuel that. Our latest average draft position data shows Dak being taken near the back end of drafts in single quarterback leagues. In Superflex or 2QB leagues, Dak was typically drafted in the middle portion of the third round. Obviously, I expect him to be drafted much earlier the next time ADP’s are computed. I think in single quarterback leagues we will start to see him drafted in the late second or third round. In Superflex and 2QB leagues, he’s going to go even higher.
If I own Dak Prescott, I’m firmly holding onto him right now. I think he’s shown enough in preseason to feel confident his dynasty value will hold for at least a few more weeks. During that time, assess your stable of quarterbacks and if he holds the highest upside of your non-starters, then hang onto him. If I’m looking to buy, I think I would stay put for now as well. Chances are his value is going to be at peak position now, unless there is an owner in your league sleeping on him. Tony Romo is 36 years old with an injury history, and now that Dak likely gets his shot to start, he may not give it back. When you have a quarterback as dynamic as Dak could be, and has shown the arm talent thus far, the sky is the limit for this kid. I just wouldn’t bet the farm on it quite yet.
If you own Romo in dynasty (as I do), I think Dak has become a must-own handcuff type. Maybe it’s because I’m in a 2 QB league but I think he is worth a reach in rookie drafts if you own Romo and are planning on contending this year. Again, with this year in mind, what other first round picks do we see making a contribution? Zeke, Shepard, and Sharpe have stood out the most in the preseason so why not elevate Dak considering his supporting cast and opportunity to cement himself as the Dallas QB of the present, and future?