Last year could not have worked out much better for quarterback Dak Prescott during his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. Aside from falling short in the playoffs, Prescott had one of the most impressive seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
During the 2016 season, Prescott set and tied numerous rookie records, including highest passer rating (104.9), lowest interception percentage (0.87), completion percentage (67.76), and wins (13). His performance was even more impressive given that he was not supposed to even be the team’s backup quarterback in 2016, let alone the starter.
Despite his success, some who cover the NFL are still predicting that Prescott will struggle during his second season in the league this year. Now, that is great and all to take a wild guess and forecast a player’s future based on a hunch, but how about using some actual data to predict how well Prescott could perform in 2017?
Of the last 10 quarterbacks to attempt at least 300 passes in each of their first two NFL seasons, nine saw an improvement in their end-of-year passer rating. The only quarterback of the group who did not end their second season in the league with a higher passing rating than the year before was Robert Griffin III.
Six of the 10 quarterbacks in the group also saw an increase in their per game average for passing yards during the year after their rookie season.
During their sophomore seasons, the majority of these quarterbacks began to make smarter decisions with the football. Seven of the 10 quarterbacks had a higher percentage of their passes turn into touchdowns than the percentage during their rookie seasons.
And speaking of smart decisions, six of the 10 quarterbacks also saw their interception rate go down when their second year in the NFL had come to a close.
Based on these recent trends, there really are not many reasons to predict that Prescott will struggle in 2017. Of course, no one can see into the future (especially with Miss Cleo no longer with us) and the Cowboys quarterback could experience some setbacks due to injuries to himself or to others on the Dallas roster.
But there is no reason to think he is going to fall into some sort of slump next year just because. Prescott is still in one of the most favorable positions of any quarterback in the NFL right now, young or old.
He has a talented running back to hand the ball off to, a great offensive line, and one of the best receivers in the game, Dez Bryant, catching his passes.
If the Cowboys are able to keep the majority of their top players relatively healthy during the upcoming season, expect Prescott to take more steps forward and continue his progression into one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.