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Is Dak Prescott The Best Rookie Quarterback In NFL History?

Brian Martin



Dak Prescott

To say that the Dallas Cowboys were more lucky than good by drafting Dak Prescott would be an understatement. They used their second pick in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft for heaven sakes.

Who would have ever guessed the 135th overall draft pick would lead the Cowboys on a 10 game winning streak and regulate Tony Romo to backup duty?

The things that Dak Prescott has done since taking over as the starting quarterback for America's Team is simply mind blowing. To think, this is coming from a player that was no better than third on the depth chart just four months ago.

Cowboys Headlines - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against WashingtonThrough the first 11 games of the 2016 season, Prescott has shown the poise, efficiency, and most importantly production of a veteran QB. He has by far outperformed any quarterback in the 2016 draft class, and perhaps any rookie QB in the history of the NFL.

To date, he has from for 2,835 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 180 yards and scored five touchdowns.

Those numbers alone will rival just about any rookie QB to ever play the game, but don't forget he has only played in 11 games and there is still a lot of football left in the 2016 season.

Need more convincing?

Prescott is third in the NFL in both passer rating (108.6) and yards per attempt (8.34). That's pretty impressive considering future Hall of Famer's Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers don't have passer ratings as high as Prescott.

If Dak Prescott continues the pace he is on through the remainder of the season, he will have approximately 4,200 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and a measly three interceptions. And that's not even mentioning what he can accomplish as a runner.

It's simply amazing when you think about it.

Here are some of the best season's by a rookie QB for comparison sake:

Player Year Yards TDs Int.
Robert Griffin III 2012 3,200 20 5
Russell Wilson 2012 3,118 26 10
Ben Roethlisberger 2004 2,621 17 11
Dan Marino 1983 2,210 20 6

You may notice that RG3 has had arguably the best season by a rookie QB, but it's kind of his only claim to fame so far in his professional career.

Injuries, the lack of development, or some other unknown factor have somehow derailed his career to the point where he might not get another chance to be a starting QB in the NFL.

Prescott's numbers are similar already and that's just through 11 games so far. He is still on pace to surpass RG3's rookie numbers and there's just something about him that leads me to believe he is just starting to scratch the surface of his true potential.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Dak Prescott The Best Rookie Quarterback In NFL History?Russell Wilson had a great rookie season as well in 2012. He nearly had the same passing yards as RG3, but threw twice as many interceptions.

Wilson is still one of the better QB's in the NFL and has a Super Bowl ring to prove it. Something we all hope Prescott earns in the near future.

Ben Roethlisberger, like Wilson, has a Super Bowl ring to prove that he's one of the better QB's in the entire NFL. He also had a really good rookie season, but still not like what the Cowboys are getting from Dak Prescott.

That's brings us to Dan Marino. If you take into consideration what the passing game was like in 1983 and what it has evolved into now, Marino might have the most impressive performance by rookie QB in the history of the NFL.

Pass interference was pretty much nonexistent and not many teams where as pass happy as they are in the NFL today. Still, Prescott has already surpassed Marino's numbers and they will only continue to fail in comparison when all things are said and done.

So, as you can see, not only were the Dallas Cowboys more lucky than good, but they are fortunate enough to have found a quarterback that could become the best to ever play the game. At least, that's what his rookie production would suggest.

Do you think Dak Prescott is the best rookie QB in NFL history?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions about Dak Prescott.

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. Mike

    November 29, 2016 at 8:02 am

    He is not that good. He is not an accurate passer. He is not good under pressure. He is lucky he was brought to this good team with such a great o-line and running back. I guarantee he wouldnt be performing the same with any other team.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 29, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Mike, I agree landing in the perfect situation has helped him immensely, but you can’t deny what he’s been able to do on the field. Yes, he needs to work on his accuracy and he struggles a little bit under pressure, but that could be said about any rookie QB. He continues to get better each game and I think he is just scratching the surface of his potential.

    • Randy Martin

      November 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Clearly Mike you are an Eagles or Redskins fan or for some other reason a Dak hater. To nitpick things about Dak’s game shows pure lunacy on your part. Struggles under pressure??? Dak thrives under pressure with pocket prescence well beyond his years. He has great escapability and hits right windows on the run. Does he not see an open receiver occasionally? Does he throw behind or above a receiver on occasion? Yes to both but good grief so do QB’s with years of experience!! I’m not here to answer the question of whether he is the greatest rookie QB of all time. What I care most about is whether we are winning games and we are in large part because of our awesome offense of which he is a big part. No sir you cannot pick apart his game because the stats speak for themselves. So take your troll bait somewhere else because really you are just making yourself look stupid!

      • Brian Martin

        Brian Martin

        November 29, 2016 at 9:31 am

        Thanks for commenting Randy. I don’t know if I could have said it better myself.

    • BeirutWedding

      December 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Same o-line and a thousand-yard rusher last year. But it looked entirely different. You’re not being fair to what you’re seeing with your own eyes. You’re not respecting the game which we love. Pay attention. It’s happening without you.

    • Moses

      March 8, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Dak versus rookie QBs in the past 10 years. Prescott has been stellar when down-and-distances were not ideal. His 82.0 QBR when the Cowboys needed more than 10 yards for a first down ranks first among the 28 rookies. Prescott has had the ball in his hands as a passer or runner 43 times in those situations, five fewer than the average for the 28 rookies since 2006. Prescott ranks seventh among the 28 in QBR (59.4) on third-and-5 or longer, and he’s ninth among all qualifying quarterbacks in the NFL this season. He has completed 39 of 57 passes for 427 yards with two TDs, one pick and five sacks in these situations First in QBR (54.5) among the 28 rookies on 87 action plays when pressured. He’s also first in QBR (88.8) when not pressured, and eighth when facing five or more pass-rushers (74.4). Prescott ranks fourth among the 28 rookies in QBR (83.0) when tied or trailing by one score in fourth quarters. He has completed 25 of 42 passes for 283 yards with one TD, no picks and one sack in these situations. Dallas is 3-1 in games when Prescott played in fourth quarters while tied or trailing by one score. Kind of contradicts what you said about pressure and accuracy.

  2. Stuart Brereton

    November 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Mike, I disagree with most of your comments, especially the one about struggling under pressure. To that point, most qbs struggle under pressure, but he reads blitzes very good for a rookie, gets out of the pressure by using his feet and making plays down the field. Seems like you just want to be a critic, because you can.
    How many interceptions has he thrown?

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 29, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Stuart, one of the reasons why Prescott slipped to the fourth round was because a lot of scouts had believed he wasn’t a very accurate passer. Prescott continues to improve in this area and the further along he gets in his development, it should only continue to get better.

  3. Mike Young

    November 29, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Great to finally see an article extolling the positive performance of Dak Prescott. As far as the reader’s comments about accuracy. Prescott is currently 6th in the NFL in completion percentage 67.9%. As for pressure Prescott has completed 25 of 28 passes in the fourth quarter over the last four games, including six completions on seven attempts during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 31-26 win over the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving. Overall, Prescott has completed 69.4 percent of his fourth quarter passes this season, with four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 109.1 passer rating. Did anyone see the ending to the win against the Eagles?

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      November 29, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks for commenting Mike. I started to add a lot of those statistics to the article, but didn’t want to overdo it ha ha.

      • Mike Young

        November 29, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        Brian, good job. Very informative. Just addressing comment on Prescott’s “lack” of accuracy and “struggles” under pressure. Ha, ha!

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          November 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm

          Mike, I love getting positive feedback ;-). I really can’t wait to see how much Prescott will improve over the course of his career. It’s simply amazing the things he’s been able to accomplish as a rookie.

      • Mike Young

        November 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm

        Amazingly, QB Dak Prescott has only thrown three incompletions in the fourth quarter or overtime this season.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          November 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

          Mike, he has definitely been clutch when it’s counted the most.

  4. Robert Carpenter

    November 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Dak will be spoken about in the same breath with Staubach and Aikman, when it’s all said and done. How About Them Cowboys, Super Bowl Bound!!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 1, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Robert, I certainly hope that’s the case.

  5. Robert Carpenter

    November 30, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    After, its all said and done. Dak, will be spoken in the same breath with Staubach and Aikman!! How About Them Cowboys!!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 1, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Thanks for commenting Robert. He has certainly been impressive so far. Let’s hope he can continue developing and lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory.

  6. Beth Acee

    December 1, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Dak is a class act, on and off the field. Most impressive to me, is his ability to step back during the course of the game, and see what errors are happening, and go in with renewed vitality and correct his problems. He always gives credit to the team, and supports them all with a kind word or gesture, that already makes them look up to him as a leader, even in his youth. Yes, he’s not perfect, but even the best have bad moments or even full games. He will be one the best, history will prove it!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Beth, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I really like your assessment of Prescott. I liked him coming out of college, but I didn’t really think he would be this good so early in his career. He has been really impressive so far and I’m excited to see how his career plays out.

  7. BeirutWedding

    December 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I love Dak but Dan Marino came into the NFL a finished product. The numbers don’t show it because the numbers nowadays are nuts but Dan Marino was pretty much the best passer in the NFL the moment he came into the league.

    For some of you Dak-haters, you embarrass yourself. Stop it.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez



Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

DallasCowboys linebacker @VanderEsch38 has been added to the 2019 Pro Bowl Roster. 🐺 Congratulations, rookie! →

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.

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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams



Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.

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