Dak Prescott wasn’t the first quarterback chosen in the 2016 NFL draft. Jared Goff was. He wasn’t the second quarterback taken, either. Carson Wentz was.
Nope, Dak Prescott was the eighth quarterback and the 135th pick off the board in 2016, and he was the fifth choice of the Dallas Cowboys. And while he wasn’t among the first quarterbacks in line, he was first in just about everything else afterward — so successful in his first year in the pros that he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
That’s not supposed to happen with someone the Cowboys didn’t find until the fourth round. But it did. And the question is: How?
Well, we posed that to Prescott, who took over as the Cowboys’ starter last season when Tony Romo bowed out with injuries, and he made it clear on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast that maybe, just maybe, scouts missed an important element of his game.
“It’s hard to judge and evaluate correctly,” he said of the draft, “and get every quality and every trait of a quarterback in the draft. Because it’s not very long that you’ve got to find out and (maybe rely on) just listening to the people around me.
“I think, for me, they kind of missed my leadership. I know it was talked, but I don’t know how much NFL teams and, executives, whatever, thought that mattered in my game.”
Funny, but that’s one of the characteristics that teams passing on Tom Brady in the 2000 draft said they missed, too, with Brady lasting until the sixth round and the 199th overall pick. In fact, one coach that worked him out prior to the draft said later that it wasn’t his mechanics his coaching staff miscalculated; it was intangibles like Brady’s leadership, competitive attitude and self-motivation — qualities that never showed up on tape.
Brady didn’t start his rookie season, but Prescott did — going 13-3, completing 67.8 percent of his passes, with 23 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 104.9 passer rating as the Cowboys won the NFC East. Surprising? You bet. But don’t tell Prescott.
“I’ve just continued to grow every year and get better,” said Prescott, “and that was something that I made known that I wanted to do from last year of college into the pros … (other) than just being drafted. I couldn’t have been drafted in a better position. I had a lot of guys around me that just allowed me to go out there and just enjoy the game of football, let it rip and have fun.”