Dallas Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott was not supposed to play this season. After being drafted in the fourth round, maybe he could spend a year or two behind veteran Tony Romo and develop into a solid pro with a pretty long career. That would have seemed to be the conventional wisdom for most mid-round quarterbacks selected and the ceiling for Dak, someone whose career at Mississippi State and playing style was probably most reminiscent of (dare I say) Tim Tebow.
That did not turn out to be the case, though. Dak Prescott busted through any ceiling projected onto him with what by most any account was the best season any rookie QB has ever had. After another Tony Romo injury, Prescott was thrusted into the starting lineup and never looked back. A Pro Bowl berth, 23 TDs and just 4 INTs later, and Prescott will lead the Cowboys into the NFC Playoffs as the conference’s #1 seed.
Let’s take the Cold Take machine all the way back to the draft this spring, when in fairness, ABSOLUTELY NOBODY SAW THIS COMING! Well, to clarify, many people liked Dak as a long term prospect, but no-one saw this year’s performance in their crystal ball.
First, what about the people who thought Dak shouldn’t even play QB in the NFL:
Dak Prescott is a back up in NFL. At tight end.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) November 15, 2014
— Bud Elliott (@TomahawkNation) September 13, 2015
If you are bilingual or have the capability to click the Google Translate button, 66% of fans said Prescott would not be the future quarterback of the Cowboys.
Participa en nuestra encuesta ¿Es Dak Prescott el QB del futuro de los Cowboys?#NFLLIiveNoPara
— NFLLive_esp (@NFLLive_esp) May 2, 2016
Elsewhere, the number was at 56% in the negative.
What do you guys think…
Is Dak Prescott the right QB to succeed Tony Romo in Dallas?
— GMFB (@gmfb) May 2, 2016
Just my 2 cents: 1) Thought Cousins was better QB for Sparty than Cook, and 2) Dak? You mean Tebow 2.0. Not for me. https://t.co/HVtJowyOUS
— Mark Kiszla (@markkiszla) April 14, 2016
Everyone wanted a quarterback besides Prescott it seemed.
— SportsDayDFW (@SportsDayDFW) May 2, 2016
Like Cardale Jones…
Jerry Jones is covering backside by regretting not landing Paxton Lynch? He should be more worried about taking Dak Prescott over Cardale.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 2, 2016
Would have preferred Cardale Jones over Dak. If you're going to draft a project QB, draft a PROJECT QB. #Cowboys
— Kelley Bydlon (@Kelley1063) April 30, 2016
Here's what I'll say about Dak: Cardale is a WAY more realistic project. Better arm, better size, better tape. Better every which way.
— Tom Di Benedetto (@Producer_Tom) April 30, 2016
Or Paxton Lynch (hello Jerry Jones)…
Jerry Jones “still mad” about missing out on Paxton Lynch.
“I probably should have overpaid” https://t.co/2tlW4MBcGT
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) May 1, 2016
Or Connor Cook. You saw him just play in the postseason, right? (Hi Jerry! Again.)
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys tried to get Connor Cook but are very happy with Dak Prescott
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) May 1, 2016
Even some in the Dallas media questioned Prescott as an NFL-caliber quarterback.
@Kdawg835 I've watched plenty of Dak Prescott. Actually a very entertaining player to watch. Not an NFL quarterback, though.
— Scott Bell (@ScottBellDMN) April 30, 2016
Someone who did see a future where Dak Prescott could be a starting quarterback in the NFL? NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who made these remarks at the draft:
“He’s a solid prospect to develop as a starting quarterback,” NFL Media’s Mike Mayock said. “… You want to talk about a young man that’s tough, has arm strength. Does he have to learn how to play the position and continue to develop? Absolutely. But I think learning behind Tony Romo, getting an opportunity with no pressure to come in and get reps behind him, he’s got the athletic ability, he’s got the arm talent. Ultimately, I think he’s got the ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL down the road.”
While Mayock was one of the few who was bullish on Prescott’s ability to succeed at some point in his NFL career, it all happened a lot sooner than anyone could have ever anticipated.