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Dak Prescott is the Real Deal

Dak Prescott struggled in Week 1 and missed the next 5 games due to injury, but now he is back and better than ever.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data.

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)

NOTE: All references to rankings are of the top 32 QBs by dropbacks through the current week.

When Dak Prescott got hurt in the opening game, Cooper Rush filled in for the next 5 weeks and the Cowboys went 4 - 1. This prompted a lot of people to wonder if the Cowboys even needed Prescott. Those people should not quit their day jobs.

Prescott has been, and continues to be, one of the better QBs in the league. Here are Prescott’s comparative measures this year against QBs from the 31 other teams:

He has faced above-average pressure (13th pr%), but handled that by getting rid of the ball very quickly (26th ttt) and avoiding sacks (30th sk%). Unlike other QBs, Dak has done that without sacrificing passing depth, averaging the 9th-longest attempted passes in the league (adot).

He has been very accurate (4th cpoe), so he converts those long attempts into long completions (5th ay/c), which aids in the 10th-longest YPA in the league. That isn’t due to big YAC either, as his receivers rank 29th in that regard, which is actually about average for such long throws (15th yacoe).

He doesn’t scramble much (27th scr%), and he doesn’t abandon many attempts either (29th aa%). This boosts his net yardage efficiency to 5th best (ny/d).

The one drawback to his game is that he is prone to turnovers (3rd to%), but he helps offset that with the 4th-highest TD rate and the 10th-best conversion rate (td%, 1st%). That style of play gives him the 7th-highest epa efficiency and the 6th-highest passing success rate in the league. By the way, Cooper Rush was 22nd and 27th in those measures respectively.

Now, to be fair, Prescott has faced easy opponent pass defenses so far (31st opd) and, of course, his supporting rushing game has been very been strong (6th aRSR). If you want to adjust his results for that, that’s fair. But don’t be that guy who says Prescott isn’t any good. That just makes you look bad.


His trends are all well above average. He throws for good yardage and first downs.


His completion depth has consistently been very high.

He has the third highest completed yards per attempt, which is a mixture of good passing depth and good completion rate: two pretty important things.


It has pretty much been the CeeDee Lamb show. Although its interesting to see a TE getting the 2nd-most love from Prescott.


Other than week 1, his accuracy has been stellar.


He is very quick to throw the ball, especially relative to how far his target depth is. It’s the best of both worlds.


He hasn’t had much success in the mid-range, but he kills it on deep shots and short passes < 10 yards.