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Draft Film Review: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

For the majority of this Draft Film Review series, I have followed the order which the Cowboys drafted. Meaning, I reviewed the players drafted in the first four rounds before I reviewed those taken in the sixth. In the case of fourth round selection and former Mississippi State Bulldogs Quarterback Dak Prescott, however, I decided to wait until the end. I did this for a few different reasons. First of all, I find him to be possibly the most intriguing of all the Cowboys rookies.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Draft Film Review: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

For the majority of this Draft Film Review series, I have followed the order which the Cowboys drafted. Meaning, I reviewed the players drafted in the first four rounds before I reviewed those taken in the sixth.

In the case of fourth round selection and former Mississippi State Bulldogs Quarterback Dak Prescott, however, I decided to wait until the end. I did this for a few different reasons.

First of all, I find him to be possibly the most intriguing of all the Cowboys rookies. Of course, Jaylon Smith has a certain amount of intrigue due to his possibly career ending knee injury and other players like Charles Tapper have intrigue because of the substantial need which we hope they can fulfill.

But Dak is just different.

The importance of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a quarterback with the teams intentions being for you to play quarterback cannot be understated. Especially after what Dallas went through a year ago.

I also waited to analyze Dak because I wanted to take some extra time evaluating him. My goal when studying a player is to review at least four games of his college career. DraftBreakdown.com has posted 13 of Dak's games at Mississippi State, however, and I watched every single one.

Just as I told you when four full games weren't available to me in Anthony Brown's case, I want you to keep in mind that 13 games were available to me in Dak's case. Mostly because I believe it helped me make my most accurate evaluation.

Prescott was a four year starter at Mississippi State, and saw a clear improvement as a passer with each season.

Due to the offense he operated in during college, his physical features, and his athletic ability, Prescott has drawn comparisons to Tim Tebow. Many also think that like Tebow, Prescott will fizzle out of the league after a short stay.

However, I truly believe that Prescott's arm talent is being vastly underrated when the Tebow comparisons are made. Dak has a strong, live arm and possesses great field vision.

Just from listening to interviews he has done and watching those 13 college games that were available to me I could tell that Dak is great "above the shoulders." He understands the game of football, and understands how to work through his progressions and reads while recognizing defenses quickly.

He fits perfectly into Jason Garrett's "Right Kind of Guys" model, despite the DUI arrest.

Dak Prescott vs. Auburn (2014)

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Prescott has a tendency to not step into his throws, something we will see the downside of later on in this piece. On this play, however, Prescott is able to overcome being unable to step into his throw with his arm strength. He stands in the face of pressure and makes the play, showing a ton of poise in the pocket.

What I love about this play the most is that while his offensive line was fooled by Auburn's blitz, Prescott was able to recognize the free rusher quickly and get the ball out on time.

Dak Prescott vs LSU 2015

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As I said earlier, Prescott has a very live arm. His arm strength allows him to make these back shoulder passes on time, and keep them away from the defender. This ball gets to the receiver in a hurry, and results in a big completion.

Dak Prescott vs LSU 2015

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Coaches love what Dak has "above the shoulders." Here we see him read the front side blitz pre-snap, and then snap his eyes backside to the quick slant pattern. He then shows off his velocity, threading the pass between two defenders.

Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) vs. Louisiana Tech (2015)

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Prescott has the arm talent, "football IQ," and poise in the pocket to make it at the next level. This element of his game may be what excites coaches the most, however. Prescott is able to scramble out of the pocket, improvise a bit, and then deliver a strike down the field for a big play. Almost Romo-esque.

Dak Prescott vs Texas A&M (2015)

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Of course what every team probably loved about Dak Prescott was his athletic ability. The Bulldogs loved to run these QB-Draw plays out of shotgun formation, and more often than not it seemed to be successful. Prescott runs the draw play here, and escapes around the edge for a first down.

He also uses his size and strength at the end of the run, barreling over the defensive back and falling forward for any extra yardage he can find. He is so tough and determined when he gets a chance to run, and he isn't afraid to try to deliver a blow.

Dak Prescott vs. Alabama (2014)

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Enjoy Prescott running through Alabama defenders here. Dak understands where the first down marker is and refuses to be denied. If you want to bring him down, arm tackles won't do.

Dak Prescott vs Texas A&M (2015)

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Prescott struggles with inaccuracy at times, and it seems to come from his inconsistent footwork and throwing motion. He does face a little bit of pressure on this play, but considering it is coming from his front side and he has time to throw, this pass should have been for a touchdown.

Instead, he rushes his feet and lets go of the ball without any step into his throw. You cant miss throws like this at the next level.

Dak Prescott vs. Georgia Tech (Capital One Orange Bowl, 2014)

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Once again we see Prescott struggle with his deep ball accuracy on this play. He has time to throw, has a clean pocket, and has a wide open receiver. He cannot miss this one.

Dak Prescott vs. Auburn (2014)

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We see Prescott get "happy feet" on this play as well. His poor footwork results in an inaccurate throw, and a missed opportunity.

However, Prescott was able to go through his entire set of progressions on this play and recognize which receiver he should deliver the ball to. It wasn't his first or second option on the play, but he was able to work his way down and give himself a chance to make the throw.

I'm willing to guess that the Cowboys staff believes they can fix the footwork issues, which will allow Dak to showcase his football IQ and arm talent.

If this is the case, and Prescott can refine his mechanics and footwork while working under the tutelage of Tony Romo and the Cowboys' coaches, he has a real chance to make it in this league.

I know it doesn't look pretty at times, but Dak got it done his four years at Mississippi State while playing in arguably the best conference in the nation. His drive and intensity will help him work at his game to hopefully get to a point where he can be trusted in big game situations.

At this point, however, I don't know if Prescott can beat out Kellen Moore for that backup quarterback role. Moore isn't exactly a consistent quarterback himself, but he has an extra year in the system and has game experience in the NFL.

With time and with practice, I can see Prescott moving up the depth chart.

I expect Dak to make the team and have a chance to dress on Sundays, and hopefully find a way to be QB2 come September. Given time behind veteran Tony Romo, I think Dak Prescott has a real chance to succeed for the Cowboys.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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2 Comments
  • George Johnson

    Kevin Brady: Good analysis on Dak Prescott. For your information one of Kellen Moore's strengths is consistency. He was very consistent in college. I don't think Dak Prescott can beat out K Moore in Dak's rookie year unless he is the next T Romo, a very quick learner and very mature in his NFL readiness.

    • http://PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

      George, you keep making this Tony Romo comparison. Romo sat on the Cowboys bench for three full seasons (2003-2005) and only became the #2 quarterback in 2006. He was #3 behind Chad Hutchinson in 2003 and then Drew Henson in 2004-2005. You're making the right point about Prescott needing to be a fast learner and adapt quickly to the NFL, but Romo isn't really the right example.

Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

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Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.

I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.

Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.

Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:

2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano

You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.

Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.

DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.

Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.

I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.



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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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