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Where Does Dak Prescott Stand Among Cowboys All-Time Passing Leaders?

Despite all of the hullabaloo about Dak Prescott‘s contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, confidence remains that a deal will be struck and he’ll be the team’s quarterback for years to come. If that proves true, Prescott could easily wind up the team’s most prolific passer in terms of all-time statistics.

In just these first four years as Dallas’ starting QB, Dak has already moved near the top of every major passing category. While this obviously has a lot to do with the era he’s playing in, Prescott’s numbers are even starting to rival Tony Romo‘s in some categores.

Consider the following (courtesy of Pro Football Reference):

Passing Yards

  1. Tony Romo – 34,183
  2. Troy Aikman – 32,942
  3. Roger Staubach – 22,700
  4. Danny White – 21,959
  5. Don Meredith – 17,199
  6. Dak Prescott – 15,778
  7. Craig Morton – 10,279

Considering Prescott just put up over 4,900 yards in 2019 alone, only an injury will prevent him from moving into the Top 5 this season. He should only need two seasons to pass Staubach for the #3 spot, and then we’ll see how longevity allows Dak to threaten Romo and Aikman.

Prescott has a lot going for him now with Mike McCarthy replacing Jason Garrett, Kellen Moore still growing as offensive coordinator, the addition of Ceedee Lamb at receiver, and hopefully Blake Jarwin’s ascension at tight end. It’s not a stretch to expect Dak to flirt with 5,000 yards on an annual basis.

Passing Touchdowns

  1. Tony Romo – 248
  2. Troy Aikman – 165
  3. Danny White – 155
  4. Roger Staubach – 153
  5. Don Meredith – 135
  6. Dak Prescott – 97
  7. Craig Morton – 80

With a career-high 30 touchdowns through the air last season, after previously averaging 22-23, Dak should start climbing this list soon as well. In two seasons he should pass White and Staubach and could even challenge Aikman if the passing game explodes with our new coaching staff.

Obviously, Prescott will need to sustain that productivity for at least 4-5 seasons to catch Romo at the top of the list.

However, it’s worth noting that Dak has already taken over as the leader for rushing TDs by Cowboys quarterbacks. He passed Roger Staubach with his 21st career rushing score last season, and should pad that lead for years to come.

That ability to get scores with his feet cuts into Dak’s passing numbers, and it’s worth remembering when we’re making these statistical comparisons.

Dak Prescott: Ignore the Outside Noise
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Completion Percentage

For passers with 1,000 or mToore career attempts as Cowboys.

  1. Dak Prescott – 65.8
  2. Tony Romo – 65.3
  3. Troy Aikman – 61.5
  4. Danny White – 59.7

For a guy who’s constantly knocked for his accuracy, Dak surprisingly sits on top of the leaderboard for all-time completion percentage. It’s a pretty thin margin between him and Tony Romo, though, and Prescott can’t afford too many down seasons to hang on to 1st place.

Prescott’s percentage dropped a little in 2019 to 65.1% from previous marks of 67.7% in 2018 and 67.8% in his rookie season. That’s a natural byproduct of being asked to throw more and in less conservative situations, thanks to the switch from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore as coordinator.

We expect that trend to accelerate in 2020 with McCarthy taking over. But hopefully, even if Dak remains a high-volume thrower, tweaks to the offense will also give him an uptick in efficiency. He’s already very good there, but there’s room for improvement. That would also allow him to maintain his lead over Romo in this category.

Passer Rating

For passers with 1,000 or more career attempts as Cowboys.

  1. Tony Romo – 97.1
  2. Dak Prescott – 97.0
  3. Roger Staubach – 83.4

If it hadn’t been for the 2017 season and all the struggles that came with it, Prescott would easily be in the top spot here as well. His passer ratings in other seasons have been 104.9 (2016), 96.9 (2018), and 99.7 (2019).

All Dak needs is for this coming year to continue the positive trends we saw last year and he will move past Romo into the top spot. It’s a lot easier to move the needle when you have a smaller body of work, but even now there’s only a 0.1 margin to deal with.

~ ~ ~

Did you realize that Dak Prescott was already this high up on these lists? Are you surprised to see where his accuracy and efficiency numbers put him compared to the Cowboys legendary passers?

Sure, Dak’s game has its warts. So did Aikman’s, Romo’s, and all of the rest. Sometimes we have to step back from our preconceived notions and fan-driven narratives and get a clearer picture of things.

Prescott is clearly already one of the better quarterbacks to ever adorn The Star. And at his current rate, he easily could wind up the franchise leader in every major statistical category.

Let’s hope Super Bowl wins is the next one that he starts adding to.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

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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  1. The only reason daks Completion rating is so high is that he says a lot of five and 10 yard passes you have to look at passes over 20 yards and see what his completion rating is for those

  2. Good article Jess and Dak does put up good stats but so did Romo. However most QBs will(rightfully) be judged on wins (especially playoff wins). Staubach and Aikman both had multiple SB wins, but stats weren’t always gaudy. Good news is Dak is young and has several more yrs to get us in the playoffs and hopefully more super bowls. For Cowboys fans 25 yrs since a SB win is way too long.

  3. Stats are great Jess but QBs are ultimately and rightfully judged by wins not stats (especially playoff wins). Staubach and Aikman both have multiple super bowl rings but didn’t always have gaudy stats. Good news is Dak is young and has several yrs to get us more rings

  4. Stats are great but all QBs (including Dak) are judged based on wins (especially playoff wins) Staubach and Aikman had multiple SB wins but often times didn’t have gaudy statistical seasons. Good news is Dak has several more yrs to attain these goals.

  5. Jess, how unfortunate that you neglected to mention that Roger Staubach missed his first 4 YEARS of prime pro football playing time because he served Our Country in the Navy from 1965 to 1968. Despite that, Staubach won 2 Super Bowls out of the four he started, and should have been 3 wins if Jackie Smith doesn’t DROP a dead center TD pass in the end zone during Super Bowl XIII.

    Prescott is SIXTH in passing yards and passing TDs, in this PASS HAPPY era. Great. Constant dinks to his security blanket, Jason Witten, helped his percentage tremendously. In 2019, Prescott was number 12 in percentage, just behind Joe Flacco and just ahead of Case Keenum.

    Bottom line! Prescott has ONE playoff win to his name in his four years. Meanwhile, Staubach and Aikman won and/or played in multiple SUPER BOWLS their first four years. Why the constant PUMPING UP of an above average QB? When Prescott wins SUPER BOWLS, then we can start to compare him to HALL OF FAMERS, especially Staubach. Right now, there is NO CAMPARISON.

    • Jackie Smith’s drop would have only tied the score in the 3rd quarter. It by no means is why we lost the game, nor would it have guaranteed a win. It was just one of the mistakes that had to be overcome. Dallas could have one that game based on the outcome of at least 4 different other plays.

  6. Also, the NFL today is a different game for QBs and WRs. MUCH MORE friendly rules that favor them compared to previous years. Todays QBs and WRs are protected much more, so they have much better chance of padded their stats. So these comparisons and lists are flawed from the get go.

  7. Most times when I read articles like this one I don’t know whether to scream or just shake my head. Dak is the only former Cowboys QB to begin his career as a full time starter his rookie year, and on teams with some of the best talent in the NFL. Aikman was a rookie starter, but on arguably the worst team in the league. Meredith, way back in the day, played very little his first two years—the NFL, and especially Tom Landry, just didn’t start inexperienced quarterbacks—and when he did finally get to play it was for a horrendous team, talent-wise.

    Romo played only one year in his career with a team that was as talented as Dak stepped into his rookie year. I wonder how many Lombardies he would have brought home with Dak’s supporting casts… or a few less dropped TD passes in the closing minutes of “win-or-go-home” games.

    This is an argument that can’t be won by either either, so I’ll just fold my tent and fade into the sunset.

  8. If memory serves me correctly, wasn’t Emmitt Smith Drafted in 1990? How about Irvin(88)? And were the following players on the team in 1989 and1990 How about
    Daryl Johnston?
    Nate Newton?
    Jay Novacek?
    John Gesek?
    KEVIN Gogan?
    Stepnoski
    Tuinei?
    Ken Norton?
    Tolbert?
    Casillas?
    Maryland?
    And above all wasn’t Jimmy Johnson, the coach? The bottom line there is always someone trying to discredit Dak! I bet you didn’t know that during Aikamn’s first four years during the regular season, he had more interceptions than touchdowns. And Romo did have a 13-3 he directed in 2007 only to expose why he wasn’t ever going to deliver when it mattered! When its all said and done, Dak, if he stays, will be the best Signal caller ever to play QB for the Cowboys!

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