#4 Dak Prescott
Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott was born in Sulfur, Louisiana on July 29, 1993. He played collegiately at Mississippi State University. He is a rookie quarterback in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
When Dak Prescott was in first grade, he and his two older brothers moved with their mom to Haughton, Louisiana after their parents split. There, approximately 18 miles east of Shreveport, Prescott attended Haughton High School.
Dak, the son of Nathaniel and Peggy Prescott, was named after one of the three bulls on the cartoon show “Wild West C.O.W-Boys of Moo Mesa”.
Dak’s two older brothers (Tad and Jace) were standout defensive lineman at Haughton High School, but all eyes were on the youngest sibling (Dak) who many people were already calling a special athlete before he even reached high school.
Although he was already viewed as a special athlete, Dak didn’t become a starter until his junior year in high school.
He really made a name for himself his senior season. Dak Prescott completed 159 of 258 passes for 2,860 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also ran for 951 yards on 90 attempts and scored 17 rushing touchdowns.
Dak Prescott chose to play for the Mississippi State Bulldogs after graduating high school. He was the starting quarterback from 2013-2015, and holds all of the school’s passing records.
In 2011 he was redshirted as a true freshman. The following season, in 2012, he was the backup to Tyler Russell. Dak Prescott played in 12 games and completed 18 of 29 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for 110 yards on 32 carries and scored four touchdowns.
In 2013, Dak Prescott began the season as Russell’s backup once again, but took over as the starter after Russell suffered a concussion. Prescott ended up playing in 11 games and completed 156 of 267 passes for 1,940 yards with 10 passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 829 yards on 139 carries and scored 13 rushing touchdowns.
Dak Prescott was named the MVP of the 2013 Liberty Bowl after leading the Bulldogs to a 44-7 win over the Rice Owls. His 2013 performance ranks seventh in passing yards (1,940), tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (13), and fourth in total yards (2,769) and total touchdowns (23). After the 2013 season, he was named to the 2013 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
In 2014, Prescott’s first full season as a starter, he led the Bulldogs to a 10-2 regular season record, and the first number 1 ranking in the program’s history.
Dak Prescott broke 10 school records in 2014 including:
- Single season passing yards (3,449)
- Total yards of offense (4,435)
- Passing touchdowns (27)
- Total touchdowns (41)
He also had 14 rushing touchdowns, which tied him for fourth in the school’s history.
Prescott was also named Manning Award Player of the Week five times, 2014 SEC Offensive Player the Week three times, the Athlon Sports, Davey O’Brien, Maxwell Award Player the Week two times, and was the 24/7 Sports National Offensive Player the Week.
He was named a 2014 Honorable Mention All-American by SI.com, 2014 First-Team All-SEC team by the AP, Coaches, and ESPN.com, and was on the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
He won the Conerly Trophy, was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and the Manning Award. He also finished eighth in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting and received two first-place votes.
2016 NFL Draft
Dak Prescott was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys with the 135th overall pick.
Prescott was the second of the Dallas Cowboys’ fourth round draft picks and was chosen 34 picks after Charles Tapper (101 overall).
As a rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott wasn’t likely to see the field much because the Dallas Cowboys were hoping to bring him along slowly so that he could develop his skill set and allow him to get accustomed to how things were done in the NFL. The injury to back up quarterback Kellen Moore changed all of that in a hurry.
After Moore’s injury, there was an open competition between Prescott and Jameill Showers to prove to the coaching staff they were capable of becoming Tony Romo’s backup QB for the 2016 season.
Dak Prescott opened the first preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams as the starting quarterback and had a stellar performance, completing 10 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in one half of action.
Prescott would follow up his impressive performance against the Rams again the next preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, where he had 227 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. Two of those four touchdowns he ran in himself.
He was forced into early action against the Seattle Seahawks when Tony Romo exited the game after only three plays, suffering a back injury. He battled against a tough Seahawks defense and had the Cowboys tied 10-10 heading into halftime. Unfortunately, the Cowboys didn’t hang on in the second half and lost 17-27 to the Seahawks.
Dak Prescott will open the 2016 season as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He is the first rookie QB to start for the Cowboys since Quincy Carter in 2001.
The total value of Dak Prescott’s rookie contract is $2,453,392. He is fully guaranteed $382,392 and will make $613,348 per season.
- In 2016 Prescott’s base salary is $450,000 and his cap hit is $545,848
- In 2017 Prescott’s base salary is $540,000 and his cap hit is $635,848
- In 2018 Prescott’s base salary is $630,000 and his cap hit is $725,848
- In 2019 Prescott’s base salary is $720,000 and his cap hit is $815,848
If Dak Prescott develops the way the Dallas Cowboys hope, then he’ll be due a much larger, long-term contract suitable for a starting caliber quarterback.
Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?
The Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss at the Los Angeles Rams is still fresh on the minds of their players, staff, and front office. So much so that the team had to fan the flames on a Jason Garrett comment expecting Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to return. Garrett himself walked back this "report" once Stephen Jones noted it's still too early for any coaching staff changes. The focus will remain on Linehan's post until it's removed or the Cowboys OC is retained, but one coordinator the Cowboys now expect to keep is Rod Marinelli on defense.
Marinelli himself disputed the season-long belief that this was likely his last as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. With Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard not taking any of the three HC positions he interviewed for, Marinelli doesn't have to worry about shuffling his title to accommodate Richard - who called the plays from week one this season anyway.
Rod's title does include his specialty as defensive line coach though, a unit that the Rams dominated with their offensive line to a historic degree. The Rams' season-high 273 rushing yards was provided by both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson surpassing 100 yards on the ground, the first time in team history they've had two backs reach this mark in a single playoff game.
Rams HC Sean McVay hardly had to reach into his vaunted 'bag of tricks' to expose the Cowboys defense in a way they hadn't been all year, but there was still an element of brilliance in his offensive game plan. It came out after the game that the Rams picked up on the keys the Dallas defensive linemen used to signal stunts and twists before the snap. While this is nothing more than just great scouting yielding an unforeseen advantage, it's left the Cowboys with more than enough time to ponder what went wrong in the Coliseum.
The Rams offensive line knew what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do before the snap on Saturday. https://t.co/oGo6Eiz4av
The answer to this may be nothing other than the coaching questions the Cowboys are already considering. With Richard's interviews in Tampa Bay, Miami, and New York coming at the beginning of the week leading up to game day, it's possible Marinelli had a larger say in the Cowboys preparation on defense.
It was Marinelli's defense that conceded 412 yards to the Rams in 2017 in a loss at AT&T Stadium. Matching him up with McVay leaves a lot to be desired, while Richard helps bridge this gap - something he was seen desperately trying to do on the sideline with a battered Cowboys defense.
As each day of the offseason passes, a change at either coordinator position becomes less likely in Dallas. On offense, the play caller has more than a season's worth of evidence showing the deficiencies of the Cowboys attack. In a league fueled by recency bias however, Marinelli certainly didn't leave his best performance on the field in Los Angeles.
Somewhere in the middle of this is Jason Garrett, safely in place as the head coach that should be personally trying to upgrade his top two assistants however possible. Marinelli signing up for another year makes this hard on defense, though Richard should resume play calling duties next season.
Again, this leaves the onus of the Cowboys improvements for 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, something that'll be realized when the shock of their defense letting them down in the biggest game of the season is gone.
Cowboys Getting Over $30 Million Cap Space from Expiring Dead Money
You may have already heard that the Dallas Cowboys will be flush with salary cap space in 2019, and that's very accurate. A huge portion of it comes from over $30 million in expiring cap penalties, otherwise known as "dead money."
Quick explanation; dead money occurs when a player is released or retires prior to the expiration of their contract. Any guaranteed money, such as the original signing bonus or money converted in a restructuring, that has not yet been paid out according to the contract schedule is accelerated.
For example, when Tony Romo retired after 2016, he still had $19.6 million in guaranteed money owed to him. Dallas chose to split this dead money over two years, and thus had a $10.7 cap penalty in 2017 and $8.9 million last season.
But now Romo's dead money, along with Dez Bryant's and several other players, is coming off the Cowboys' books. The result is a roughly $30 million infusion of salary cap space for 2019.
Here were the major culprits for last year's dead money:
(All cap figures are taken from Spotrac.com)
- QB Tony Romo - $8.9 million
- WR Dez Bryant - $8 million
- DT Cedric Thornton - $2.5 million
- CB Orlando Scandrick - $2.3 million
- CB Nolan Carroll - $2 million
- WR Deonte Thompson - $1.8 million
- DE Benson Mayowa - $1.1 million
- K Dan Bailey - $800 thousand
- TE James Hanna - $750 thousand
Those players alone make up a little over $28 million. Another $4 million or so came from over 30 players with lesser penalties that still added up.
Right now, the Cowboys have only $1.76 million in dead money on their 2019 salary cap. Nearly all of that is the $1.6 million still owed to Orlando Scandrick.
That difference is where the cap space comes from, and it will be of tremendous help to Dallas as they have major financial moves coming. They need to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence, deal with a major salary bump for Amari Cooper, and consider a contract extension for Dak Prescott.
The 2019 number will change, of course, as the offseason rolls on. If Dallas elects to release players like Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, or others, some dead money will appear. But that will be offset by whatever cap savings motivated the move in the first place.
This is a good reminder of why the Cowboys' new era of fiscal conservatism is a good thing. After years of what felt like perpetual "salary cap hell," they are finally getting out from under those penalties and have complete flexibility this offseason. They may not even need to cut a guy like Crawford, who they almost would have been forced to in past seasons.
We'll be talking a lot more about individual players and their contracts in the weeks ahead, but this summary helps us see that Dallas isn't nearly up against the financial wall as they have been. We still miss guys like Romo and Dez, but we won't miss that awful dead money in 2019.
Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program
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.
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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