What Could Have Been with Dak Prescott
Prescott’s DUI made a huge impact — only time could tell if it would be beneficial for the young star
Many may not remember, but back in February 2016 Mel Kiper and other NFL scouts had Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott as a potential 2nd round draft pick. His 19 wins at Mississippi State along with great character and leadership skills made him a prime time candidate to compete in the NFL. With many teams in need of a franchise quarterback, things were looking up for the former Bulldog. Or so it would seem.
On March 12th, 2016, Prescott was arrested for suspected drunk driving in Starkville, Mississippi. Less than 48 hours after completing MSU’s pro day, the college star watched his draft stock take a major hit. The arrest came just two months before the NFL draft, which was already full of potential talent at the quarterback position.
As fate would have it, Prescott fell to the fourth round where he was selected 135th overall by the Dallas Cowboys to be a potential back up to Tony Romo. He was passed by Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler, and Connor Cook. At the end of the 2016 year, those seven quarterbacks have a total of nine wins in games they have started. Dak Prescott currently has 13 and counting.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at the situations Prescott could have found himself in had he not fallen in the draft.
In a shocking turn of events, Jeff Fisher decides to draft Dak Prescott over Jared Goff as the number one overall pick. Prescott enters a high pressure situation on LA’s new team, and is expected to win immediately. After giving into the fans demands to start Prescott over Case Keenum, the Rams are able to squeak out wins against the Dolphins, and 49ers, scoring three more touchdowns than the Rams did with Jared Goff. However, the offensive line still struggles, and the Rams miss the playoffs. LA Fans are still getting used to having a football team, and demand that the team drafts a pocket passer in order to open up the run game. Final Record 6–10.
Carson Who? Doug Peterson decides that he can’t risk his first draft pick as the Eagles head coach on a QB from North Dakota State. Instead he selects a highly regarded prospect from college football’s top conference, the SEC. Eagles fans openly welcome Dak Prescott to Philadelphia in hopes that he will be the next Donovan McNabb. The season starts out fine, and with the Cowboys losing Tony Romo the NFC East is wide open. The Eagles beat both the Cowboys and the Lions but end their season with a measly 9–7 record. They still miss the playoffs because the Redskins and Giants also beat the Cowboys. The good news is that the fans aren’t too mad thought because Jared Goff sucks, and Carson Wentz is injured during his first series with the Cleveland Browns. ‘Trust the process’ becomes the official slogan for the state of Pennsylvania.
In his final season with the Broncos, Gary Kubiack decides that the future to the Denver Broncos is not a pocket passer, but instead a tested signal caller with the ability to run. He realizes that Paxton Lynch will never be good, and that the future is Dak Prescott. However with absolutely no solid running back, Prescott is forced to rely on his arm and pocket presence. The defense is able to pull out a few games, but the Broncos end up 10–7 and still miss the playoffs because Derek Carr is a football god. They do beat the Titans 17–13 though so, yay! By the way, Kubiak retires and the new head coach vows to bring in a franchise quarterback.
The Patriots decide to pass on Jacoby Brissett and set Dak Prescott as third string QB. His main job will be to back up Jimmy Garoppolo as Tom Brady serves his suspension. The football gods throw a curveball and Garoppolo (still) sprains his AC joint against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots are forced to play Dak Prescott against the Texans, and he performs to perfection. The Patriots go on to win 27–0, but all of the praise goes to head coach Bill Belichick for being able to win a game with a third string QB. The Patriots go on to beat the Buffalo Bills at home, and Prescott is replaced immediately the next week by Tom Brady. New England goes to the Super Bowl and Dak Prescott doesn’t dress for the remainder of the season.
New York Jets
The Jets decide to draft Dak Prescott over Christian Hackenberg. As the fourth-string quarterback, Prescott never sees the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick implodes, Geno Smith tears his ACL, and Bryce Petty gets the nod to take first team reps. Even though Dak shows promise in practice, the coaching staff is not confident enough to give him the reigns this season. The Jets’ finish last in the division, and decide to draft another QB after they part ways with Geno Smith and Fitzpatrick in the offseason.
Somehow the Cowboys are able to trade up for Michigan State star Connor Cook, and the Oakland Raiders are forced to settle for Dak Prescott. Prescott follows Cook’s path and only practices with the scout team. After Carr breaks his leg, Matt McGloin steps in as the backup quarterback until he is injured against the Denver Broncos in Week 17. The Raiders have given up all hope and decide to start Prescott in the playoffs against the Houston Texans. Nothing that Prescott can do will revive his team from the disappointment of losing Derek Carr. Prescott throws some great passes, but Cooper and Crabtree drop them, and the Texans cruise to a playoff victory.
Back to Reality
Had Prescott been thrown into the fire with teams like the Rams or the Browns, there is just no way he would have had the same success that he has had in Dallas. Instead he was placed in the perfect position with potential rookie of the year running back Ezekiel Elliot, future Hall of Famers in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
The Dallas Cowboys season seamed to be doomed when Tony Romo broke his back in preseason. Now they are one of the top favorites to win Super Bowl LI, being led by the rookie Dak Prescott. Right now Vegas has Prescott’s Cowboys beating Aaron Rodger’s Packers by four points. If that happens, Prescott will be just two games away from raising a Lombardi trophy.
Has Prescott not been arrested before the draft, he may have been among the many injured quarterbacks on Cleveland’s roster, on the bench in New York, or thrown into a playoff game against the Houston Texans defense. Instead he will be starting his first playoff game after leading the Cowboys to a NFC East title and a 13–3 regular season.