On Friday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott earned the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
The first-year signal caller wound up being the steal of the draft, playing better than any quarterback in his class. Drafted out of Mississippi State in the fourth round, Prescott was seen to be a serviceable backup in case Tono Romo went down with an injury, and wasn’t supposed to play any meaningful snaps in 2016.
However, once Romo suffered a broken bone in his back in the preseason, that narrative took a twist.
Now, Prescott is in the conversation for having one of the best rookie seasons by any player in the NFL. Prescott didn’t light up the stat sheet, throwing for over 300 yards in only three games, but his incredible efficiency and ability to deliver in clutch situations ultimately drew everyone’s attention his way.
In 2016, Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. His quarterback rating of 104.9 is the highest ever by a rookie passer.
Along with Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott helped the Cowboys go from worst to first by becoming one of the most electrifying duos in all of sports. Add the Cowboys’ No. 1 ranked offensive line in the equation, and you have a recipe for a potential dynasty.
We all saw how bad Dallas was without a competent passer calling the shots. Look no further than the 2015 season, were the Cowboys won only four games without Romo at their disposal for a large chunk of the year. Realizing Dallas sorely needed a reliable backup, Jerry Jones turned to the draft to find his guy.
Initially, Jones wanted to draft Paxton Lynch out of Memphis and stated he lost sleep over not being able to trade up to grab the tall, strong-armed prospect. But Jones has to be thrilled with how everything turned out, as he found a diamond in the rough.
“It doesn’t mean anything to me [that they wanted Lynch],” Prescott said in May of 2016 regarding Jones’ preference for Lynch over him in the draft. “I’m sure I wasn’t the first one on Mississippi State’s recruiting board when I committed to them.”
That kind of mental toughness is what set Prescott, who is composed beyond his years, apart from other quarterbacks in the league. Make no mistake about it; without Prescott at the helm, Dallas wouldn’t have won an NFC-best 13 games, and there would be no drama in regards to where Romo would be playing next season, which has become the talk of the Cowboys’ offseason.
But for the time being, the spotlight is on Prescott, who seemingly came out of nowhere and took the NFL by storm.