Dak Prescott: Armchair Scouting Report
Dak Prescott has a few traits that really stand out to me on film. The most obvious reason to be intrigued by him is his legs. .
What the Film Shows
He is a bruising runner, who finishes runs with power and can pick up tough yards. He keeps his eyes up on ride fakes and while dropping back in the pocket. Prescott displays a fairly quick release, though he is slow at times to drop and get set. Arm strength is not the featured attraction for Prescott, but he is very accurate and throws well on the run. He can be slow to recognize pressure, and displays some of the same dead feet qualities we saw from Paxton Lynch. Prescott also displays a willingness to climb the pocket instead of evading rushers and taking off with his legs.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Prescott’s career numbers courtesy of Sports Reference:
I also expanded Prescott’s final season, while including the Football Outsiders S&P+ pass defense ranking for the opposing defense:
|North Carolina State||82||25||42||59.5||380||4||1||162.2|
It is easy to see Prescott has been a dynamic runner throughout his college career, amassing at least 500 yards and double digit touchdowns each of the last three seasons. His improvements as a passer though have been impressive, as he has gone from a quarterback who completed just 58 percent of his passes for 6.8 AYA as a sophomore, to 66 percent completions and an 8.7 AYA as a senior.
In terms of his senior season, it was beyond impressive. He limited turnovers and passed efficiently despite an incredibly tough schedule featuring five defenses in the top-18 of S&P+ pass defense. Prescott’s only true struggle came against Alabama, who won the national championship and had the top defense in the country, but even in that game he went for 300 yards passing. He also did what he was supposed to do against the weaker teams, often dominating them for multiple touchdowns. Dak Prescott has such an impressive statistical profile I dubbed him the arbitrage version of Lynch, a consensus first round pick, over at RotoViz. He is one of the game’s elite dual threats, and his numbers back up some great film.
What His Measurables Reflect
|6022||226||9 7/8||31 3/8||77 3/4|
Prescott participated in the Senior Bowl this year (playing quite well I might add), and his measurements there are shown above. He was slightly under his college weight of 230, but still heavy enough to play the position. He also has fairly large hands despite being on the short side, and as Jonathan Bales noted at Rotoworld, hand size is more important. I don’t think his measurables should hurt him at all as a prospect.
Player Comparison: “Baby” Cam Newton
This is probably a good time to remind readers that the player comparison is meant to reflect style and offensive fit. Cam Newton is one the best signal callers in the NFL right now, so it would be a stretch to make a direct one-to-one comparison with a player like Prescott. Newton is simply a much better (and bigger) overall athlete. However, there are some similarities as players. Both excel on the ground, and will be their respective team’s top goal-line option. Through the air, they were probably both better off than people thought, but still fairly raw overall. Their final year statistics are also somewhat similar according to the RotoViz Box Score Scout App:
The two passers had near identical numbers for completion percentage, touchdowns per game, and interceptions per game. The major difference is the amazing efficiency of Newton, managing an absurd AYA of 11.7, while rushing for over 100 yards per game. Prescott passed for many more yards while rushing for less, which could in part be a symptom of his Mississippi State team being just 9-4 overall. However, I think having a few things in common with a quarterback like Newton has to be taken as an overall plus.
Ideal Landing Spot: 49ers
I really like Dak Prescott as a prospect, but the reality is he probably isn’t going in the first two rounds of the draft. He also needs to go to a team willing to build around his strengths for him to be successful. There just so happens to be an innovative head coach who could potentially be in the quarterback market in Chip Kelly. When Chip went to San Francisco, the inference was it was so he could work with Colin Kaepernick and help the 49ers make good on their investment in him. However, rumor has it that Kap now wants out of the Bay Area. That would make Prescott an outstanding long-term investment in San Fran, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the team take him as an insurance policy/pet project of Kelly’s.
If Kap were to hang around, that would complicate things, but the team can get out of his contract anytime after this season for a minimal cap hit, and it would give Prescott time to learn the system. After seeing what Kelly has done with passers like Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford, I have no doubts Prescott could thrive in a system that would allow him to take advantage of his legs, and create mismatches.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: Late 2nd – 3rd Round (4th Round in 1QB Leagues)
Prescott is probably going to go off the board somewhere in the fourth-to-sixth range at quarterback. Last year, those players went towards the end of the third round and into the fourth, but I think the mid-tier passers in this draft are better than in 2015. If he winds up with Kelly, people are going to want to buy Prescott, so pencil him into the late-second round range if that happens, and somewhere in the third if he winds up somewhere less enticing. The difference in ADP tends to flatten out between 2QB and 1QB drafts the deeper you get, so I would expect Prescott to end up somewhere in the fourth in single quarterback formats.
Consider me a fan of Dak Prescott’s, and I will eagerly follow him all draft season. Right now I think he is going a bit under the radar, though it seems scouts are starting to catch on after his awesome Senior Bowl performance. While I think players like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz have a shot to succeed, I find myself increasingly wondering if teams aren’t just better off waiting and drafting a Prescott or Christian Hackenberg. Prescott’s dual-threat ability is top notch, and after seeing what players like Newton and Russell Wilson have been doing to the league, I’m expecting that skill set to become even more valuable as time goes on. And if he ends up with Chip…