What separates an elite quarterback from the rest of the bunch? In a passing league, the need for a “super-star” quarterback has never been greater. There is a direct correlation between a super-star quarterback and a team with contender status. But, if we were to combine all the elite qualities – per se – from various superstar quarterbacks to create the almighty Quarterback what would we need? For starters, the arm of Matthew Stafford. The living embodiment of a gunslinger, his range is essentially endless. The speed and agility of Russell Wilson; his knack for play-extension affords the Seahawks as perennial contenders. The brute strength of Cam Newton – who packs a 250 pound frame – resembling a prototypical linebacker. The precision and accuracy of Tom Brady, who seemingly can sling a ball into the tightest of windows. And to top it all off, the mental preparation of Peyton Manning. Now, of course no quarterback in the league will posses all these qualities, but my reason for listing these traits of the elite candidates at this position is purely rhetorical. Proving that there is not a set of given traits that defines an elite quarterback. Success in the NFL from this position comes from a diverse group of studs, but why dream of landing some prospect who excels at one of these certain skills when you can settle for someone whose greatest attribute is their versatility? That someone is none other than Rayne Dakota Prescott and he is the future of the sport we love.
Dak is the epitome of a common man; simplicity is his middle name and this aforementioned simplicity is what fuels his greatness. He has led his Dallas team – a team that began the year with an expectation of mediocrity – to an 8-1 start. Now, to say that this isn’t due to having the best offensive line in football and being able to punish opposing defenses with Zeke Elliot lining up in the backfield would undoubtedly be foolish. All the haters and cynics will draw most peoples’ attention to this obvious talent surrounding Dak Prescott, placing him in a position for foreseeable success. However, to take away any homage from Dak would be nothing short of disrespectful and could be quickly invalidated. At this time, he is on pace to have the best rookie season for a quarterback in the history of the league; according to QBR, which is the most impartial statistic assigned to this position. Not only is Dak leading that category, but he has a considerable lead over fellow award-winning rookies. Among these are Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan. The Cowboy’s quarterback, currently, is hovering around an 80 QBR rating, while the record-setting 2012 rendition of Andrew Luck finished with a 67 QBR. Furthermore, not only is Dak outperforming his fellow starting quarterbacks, who set passing records and won rookie of the year awards, but he is also outperforming his predecessor, Tony Romo. There has only been one stretch of games in the prolific career of Tony Romo where he has actually outperformed Dak, all the way back in 2007. Tony’s total QBR was two points higher than that of Dak’s and this was credited as the best stretch of games in Tony’s career, This is comparing a max-contract, presumed franchise quarterback to a fourth-round draft pick who is deemed as his “replacement” for the time-being.
Dak has been classified as many falsities, but a “game-manager” has proven to be the most unfounded of all. A stereotypical “game-manager” is a quarterback whose team wins in spite of his performance. This characterization of Dak could be easily discredited and invalidated. Points above replacement (PAR) is a statistic that measures the success and value of a certain player as compared to an “average” NFL player at that position. Currently, the Mississippi State alumnus has a PAR value of 62 as compared to Tony Romo at 67. Keep in mind that this is, once again, comparing Dak’s most recent eight games in his rookie career to the best eight game stretch of Tony Romo’s career. Dak is playing as well as Tony as ever played. What this shows us is that this young rookie will only continue to improve and refine his artistry. Surely, he is destined for MVP awards and Super Bowl appearances in what we hope is a long and prosperous career. Dak Prescott is taking the league by storm and we better get used to it, because he is the future of the NFL.