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Replacing Dak Prescott Through Draft is Much Harder Than You Think

Jess Haynie

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

There is a vocal portion of Cowboys Nation who believe that Dallas shouldn't give Dak Prescott a long-term extension. They'd rather the team let Prescott leave in free agency and find a new starting quarterback in the draft. But that is no simple proposition; finding a winning QB in the NFL Draft is much harder than many realize.

Yesterday, I briefly touched on this notion in another article about Dak's value to the Cowboys. I said that Dallas runs a huge risk if they try to find someone better than Prescott, potentially entering another ugly period of QB play like we saw between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo's tenures.

That risk is clearly qualified by an examination of NFL Draft history.

If you think finding a new QB is as simple as spending a 1st-round pick, then check out the last five years of passers taken in that round.

  • 2018
    • Baker Mayfield (1st)
    • Sam Darnold (2nd)
    • Josh Allen (7th)
    • Josh Rosen (10th)
    • Lamar Jackson (32nd)
  • 2017
    • Mitch Trubisky (2nd)
    • Patrick Mahomes (10th)
    • Deshaun Watson (12th)
  • 2016
    • Jared Goff (1st)
    • Carson Wentz (2nd)
    • Paxton Lynch (26th)
  • 2015
    • Jameis Winston (1st)
    • Marcus Mariota (2nd)
  • 2014
    • Blake Bortles (3rd)
    • Johnny Manziel (22nd)
    • Teddy Bridgewater (32nd)

Out of 16 total first-round quarterbacks, how many of them are proven winners? How many of them are already considered busts? How many are somewhere in between?

That 2014 group has two recurrent punchlines, Bortles and Manziel. Johnny is completely out of the league and Blake has entered the "veteran backup" stage of his career. Bridgewater is the only guy with a possible future, seemingly the heir apparent to Drew Brees right now in New Orleans.

The next year's duo of Winston and Mariota are both barely holding on to their jobs. Neither has had sustained success and are trending downward.

Cowboys Headlines - Re-hashing Paxton Lynch 2

Former Cowboys draft target, QB Paxton Lynch

The top two in 2016 are doing well, but what about Paxton Lynch? That was the guy Dallas apparently coveted in the draft but missed on, eventually settling for Dak Prescott in the fourth round.

Lynch lasted just two years in Denver and was released at final cuts in 2018. He was signed this past January by Seattle as a reclamation project.

Let's just stop here for a bit and reflect, because Paxton Lynch serves as a perfect illustration of the danger of trying to replace Dak Prescott in the draft.

Given Dak's winning record in the NFL, Dallas would be drafting in the 20s the year after he's gone. So we're not talking about hopefully landing a Mayfield, Goff, Wentz, or some other top prospect. The likely scenario would be taking a player more like Lynch, Bridgewater, or Lamar Jackson and hoping they wind up as good as their elite classmates.

Lynch didn't seem like a bad pick three years ago. The Cowboys certainly didn't think so, and neither did a legendary QB in John Elway. But so far he's been one of the worst 1st-round quarterbacks in recent NFL memory.


But even if the player they draft doesn't bust as hard as Paxton, what's the upside? What are the chances that a QB drafted somewhere in the back of the first round will emerge as an elite player?

What are the odds he'd be any better than Dak Prescott?

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott  (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Odds, risk, gamble; these are the keywords in this discussion. Trying to draft an upgrade at QB over a player with Prescott's proven ability and success isn't a strategy, but more like taking your winnings and betting it all on the next dice roll.

Now if your idea is that Dallas lets Dak leave and then tanks the following year, getting a high pick in the 2021 or 2022 drafts, then what are you really rooting for there? A lost season, and potentially a lost window as your offensive line and other players get that much older?

Nobody is saying that Dak Prescott is the best QB in the NFL. But he's the best QB for the Dallas Cowboys right now and for the next several years.

Dallas can't afford to hit the reset button anytime soon. They have invested in an infrastructure with the offensive line and now a top-dollar contract for DeMarcus Lawrence, with another likely on the way for Amari Cooper. They have to keep giving themselves the best chance to win in the present.

Prescott is that best chance for now. He's brought them to the playoffs twice and was an Ezekiel Elliott suspension away from a third postseason appearance.

It's still a gamble; Dak has his liabilities to work through. But we lived through Tony Romo's more reckless years, even when faith wavered in his ability to lead the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl.

Sure, you can wish that Dak Prescott was Pat Mahomes. But 31 other teams right now wish they had that guy, too. Just like most of the NFL has wished they had Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees in recent years.

Chasing that dream through the draft, the NFL's annual trip to the casino, can easily leave you broke.

Dallas already hit big when they found Dak Prescott in the late fourth round. They could lose everything if they get greedy.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ezekiel Elliott Should be rid of all Rust

It's pretty difficult to deal with the hype of being 2-0 to open a 2019 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys have done just that with a revamped offense and a quarterback that's thrown seven touchdowns in the process. They currently sit alone atop of the NFC East and although it's too early to know what kind of team this will be when it's all said alone, we're excited.

Let's dive into this week's takeaways!

We Need Robert Quinn Back

The Dallas Cowboys defense hasn't been as bad as many would think. They've had a few bad moments but the talent is still there and should be improving as the season goes on. Last Sunday, what was most frustrating to me was the lack of a pass rush. DeMarcus Lawrence had a pretty good game, even though his stat line doesn't look very pretty. The pressure was there constantly and he forced a handful of bad plays from Case Keenum. Tyrone Crawford managed to sack him once.

Breaking News: Robert Quinn Suffers Fractured Hand

Other than that, for most of the game the pressure was scarce. Fortunately, the Cowboys are getting Robert Quinn back from suspension this week. Having two quality edge rushers will boost a defense that has the potential to be great, but has only been "good" two weeks into the season.

Ezekiel Elliott Had The Kind of Game The Cowboys Need

Zeke was back for a heavier workload in week 2 after having a snap count in the season opener. It may have not felt like it, but the Cowboys' star running back had a pretty good game versus the Redskins. On 23 carries he had 111 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

In contrast of recent years, Elliott had a great game without the team heavily leaning on the running game. Dak Prescott threw the ball 30 times and Zeke still had a great game. This is what Cowboys Nation should want out of Kellen Moore's offense.


Elliott has two rushing touchdowns in the season, compared to six in all of last year. This is a product of an offense that's now dangerous in many ways, specially in the red zone. You gotta love what Moore is accomplishing so far.

Slow Starts Can't Continue to Happen

The biggest issue with the Cowboys in the first two weeks of the season has been their slow openings. In both games they've started trailing early. The worst thing about it is that it's been due to giving up big plays (like Saquon Barkley's big run in week 1) and quick, unsuccessful drives on offense (like a three-and-out drive followed by a drive that ended in an interception last Sunday).

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Giants and Redskins didn't pose much of a problem. But when we reach the tougher stretches of the schedule, we know how quickly a game can turn south. Not every rival will be as unforgiving as the 0-2 foes they've faced so far.

DAL 31, WAS 21: Dak Prescott Dominant In Comfortable Win 1

Dak Prescott Continues to Prove He's It

Last but not least, we'll talk about Dak Prescott. Once again, he looked great. He finished the day with 269 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that came on a tipped ball from Randall Cobb's hand. He threw an absolute dime to WR Devin Smith, giving him his ninth 50+ yard touchdown pass of his career (ranking third in the NFL since 2016 behind Tom Brady and Philip Rivers).

All game long, he was precise against Washington's defense. He dealt three touchdowns to three different players and was making throws with anticipation and poise. If you're not sold on Dak Prescott yet, I don't know if you'll ever be.

He also looked well as a runner, specially on that 42-yard run where he stiffed arm Josh Norman. I hope the Cowboys continue to use him in the running game.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need" 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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Dallas Cowboys

Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?
Brad Mills / USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start in 2019. Two weeks into the season, they're showing off a 2-0 record as they've outscored their opponents 66-38. The offense has been on point through two games under Kellen Moore's coordination. There have been some issues, but these have been largely outnumbered by the positive things.

Truth be told, such a start was expected. Well, maybe not Dak's seven touchdowns and 674 yards, but having two wins to start off the season certainly was. The Cowboys opening three-game stretch looked like an easy one from miles away. Dallas faces the Miami Dolphins next Sunday and they're already favorites by 20.5 points in the betting world.

Things weren't expected to heat up for the Cowboys until week 4 and now it seems like that won't happen.

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees suffered a hand injury against the L.A. Rams last Sunday and will require surgery. A torn ligament on his throwing hand thumb will keep him out for at least six weeks. This is a heavy blow for a team expected to be a Super Bowl contender.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From our breaking news segment on @nflnetwork: #Saints QB Drew Brees needs thumb surgery and is out for roughly 6 weeks. Teddy Bridgewater is the new starter. https://t.co/x4g6yVVIZm

With Teddy Bridgewater set to become the Saints' starting quarterback, odds will likely shift in the Cowboys' direction when both teams face each other on September 29th, a matchup that will take place under the lights on Sunday Night Football.

For the Cowboys, it means an increased chance of winning on week 4. I'm not going to lie to you, I would 100% rather face a Saints team with Drew Brees under center to enjoy a good football game, but it is what it is. You hate to see a great football player like Brees deal with injuries like this.


The Saints are still a very complete football team and shouldn't be underestimated, but it's hard to picture them being as productive offensively without their elite quarterback. Having said that, the Cowboys' schedule looks very favorable for Dallas.

These are the rivals that the Cowboys will face prior to the bye week:

  • VS Miami Dolphins
  • @ New Orleans Saints
  • VS Green Bay Packers
  • @ New York Jets
  • vs Philadelphia Eagles

The toughest rivals on that slate are clearly the Packers and Eagles. It won't be easy, but should the Cowboys stay healthy, beating both definitely seems possible. Before that, I won't be surprised if the Cowboys reach the bye week with a 7-0 record.

This team has been pretty impressive through two weeks and if they clean up their slow starts, watch out for a long win streak. Looking at the games after the bye week, the biggest challenge definitely are the New England Patriots on week 12.

I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but I truly believe a long win streak is ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Such a start to the season wouldn't be all that new for the Dak Prescott "era." Although they lost their season opener in 2016, they went on to win 11 straight on route to the #1 seed in the NFC.

We'll have a better idea of where the Cowboys stand after they face better competition. Right now, we need to handle the hype of a satisfying 2-0 record.

How long do you think the Cowboys win streak will last?

Tell me what you think about "Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?" 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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Player News

REPORT: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Injury

Jess Haynie

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Xavier Woods

Another tough injury coming out of last week's game against Washington; Cowboys starting Safety Xavier Woods is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain injury.

This comes just a day after Dallas lost WR Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

Cowboys FS Xavier Woods is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, source said. A blow to the secondary with #Saints, #Packers among upcoming opponents.

The next man up at safety appears to be Darian Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since midway through the 2018 season. He was re-signed as a free agent last March and is one of the key reasons that Dallas chose not to keep veteran George Iloka at final cuts.

Michael Gehlken on Twitter

Cowboys S Darian Thompson will make his first start Sunday since joining team in 2018, source said. S Xavier Woods is sidelined with high ankle sprain.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that Dallas is working out free agent safety Josh Jones. He was a 2nd-Round pick of the Packers in 2017 who was released last month after falling down the depth chart and demanding a trade.


Dallas still has Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson on the roster for safety depth. While many fans would love to see Wilson get the start this week, Darian Thompson's game and athleticism are more suited to play the free safety role.

Thompson also has experience, having started 17 games from 2016-2017 with the New York Giants. He was their 3rd-Round pick in 2016.

Thankfully, this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins gives the Cowboys a soft opponent with which to make these adjustments. But missing Xavier Woods is going to hurt; he is a rising star on defense and easily their top player at safety.


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