Dak Prescott was arguably the SEC’s best quarterback last season. Coming into the year the Mississippi State faithful had high hopes for Prescott heading into his senior year. As a Junior he led the team to the #1 ranking in the country before falling to Alabama late in the year and then falling apart, losing three of their last four. But in his last year expectations in Starkville were high, probably too high.
In their second game of the year the Bulldogs struggled early before Prescott put the team on his shoulders in the second half to almost pull and upset against LSU in Baton Rouge. Mississippi State went on to lose four conference games but won two big games on the road against Auburn and Arkansas. The Bulldogs put it on NC State in the Belk Bowl, 51-28 to close out Prescott’s career.
Statistically Precott had a better season as a junior but he still was one of the best in the SEC as a senior. With 29 touchdowns by air and 10 more on the ground Prescott was a threat anytime he had the ball. In the game against LSU Prescott single-handily kept the Bulldogs in the game. That night in Baton Rouge he torched the LSU secondary for 335 yards. In late November Prescott had a career night against Arkansas on the road. He lit up the Hogs for 508 yards and threw for five touchdowns and ran for two more. The Bulldogs won a thriller, 51-50 in Fayettville.
Prescott is thought to be one of the top ten QBs in the 2016 NFL Draft. Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenburg, Connor Cook and Carson Wentz are projected to go in the first or second round. The Bulldog quarterback is an intriguing prospect due to his size and athleticism. Many scouts have compared him to Tim Tebow. That could be a kiss of death in the NFL. He has also drawn comparisons to Steve McNair who was a big QB with an even bigger arm. As a junior Prescott would take off at the drop of a hat. As a senior he showed more poise in the pocket and developed more as a passer. He’s still a project but with more polished QBs like Goff and Hackenbrg Prescott won’t likely be drafted until later in the draft on day three.
Even though Prescott is not at the top of many draft boards he will have plenty of opportunities to increase his draft stock. He has been invited and will play in the Senior Bowl in late January. The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for prospects to get to work with pro coaches and other top talent around the country. Many future draft picks improved their position by being involved in the game. Jordan Matthews, would eventually was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round by his Senior Bowl coach Chip Kelly benefited from playing in the game and being around the coaching staff. Kelly said that Matthews was drafted in part of his interaction with him at the Senior Bowl. This year the Jaguars and Cowboys staffs will serve as coaches for the game. The Jags are set with Blake Bortles as their QB of the future but the back-up Chad Henne isn’t a top notch back-up. Dallas really does need help at QB. Once Tony Romo went down earlier this year it was a revolving door to find someone who could win under center. If Prescott can impress the Cowboy’s coaching staff he could get picked up late by Dallas late in the draft.
Prescott will likely throw at the Bulldog’s Pro Day. He could be invited to the Combine but that won’t be known until February when the invitations go out. Some NFL teams could bring him in for private workouts as well.
It’s highly unlikely that Prescott will be a starter for an NFL team in 2016. He will be brought in as a back-up and will be evaluated from there. If he isn’t drafted he could pick his spot and sign with a team as an undrafted free agent. Prescott could sign with the team that is thin at the back-up position and try to earn a roster spot this summer.
Some ideal landing spots for Prescott are Dallas. Like we said before without Tony Romo the Cowboys went through several back-ups this year and played very badly. The Bears could also be a good fit for him. Jay Cutler played well this year but if he is in Chicago after next season I would be surprised the Chicago fans would love the Prescott plays and would become a fan favorite as a back-up. St. Louis is in dire need of a QB. If they don’t take one in the first round Prescott could find a spot on the depth chart with Jeff Fisher. Fisher groomed Steve McNair and it could be a good opportunity for the Mississippi State to learn under a coach who likes to run the ball.
There is still plenty of time before the draft in April. Prescott’s name will likely rise and fall until then. But it’s a pretty safe bet that he is on an NFL roster this summer. We just don’t know which one.