Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys has put up absolutely ridiculous video game numbers in the preseason so far. Yes, it’s the preseason. Still, what he is doing as a rookie is absurd.
Through two games, Prescott is 22 for 27 passing, for 338 passing yards, 4 touchdown passes, and no interceptions. Oh, and he also has two rushing touchdowns, including a 20-yard scramble in last week’s game against Miami. If you exclude the end of the first half of game 1, when he had one kneel down to end it, the Cowboys have scored on every possession he has been on the field: 51 points in 9 possessions.
He has played mostly in the first half in both games, starting week 1 with Tony Romo resting, and then coming in after two possessions last week, and extending for two possessions into the 3rd quarter last week.
First, let’s look at just how hot his start has been. Here are the best passer ratings by a rookie in the last decade (per stats from NFL.com) for all rookies that threw 30+ passes in the preseason.
Brett Hundley is still backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. It’s a mixed bag, but playing well against the more vanilla gameplans is usually an indicator that the player can at least start in the league if necessary. Russell Wilson used a fantastic preseason to go from 3rd round pick to opening game starter, and has never looked back. Robert Griffin III went on to a rookie of the year performance. Nick Foles led the league in passer rating a year later in a shocking turn of events. Jay Cutler became the starter halfway through the year in Denver. All three quarterbacks from the 2014 draft are starting still entering this year, and look to be solidly in place with their teams.
Others, like Tuel and Gradkowski, would never experience much success. Flynn had his brief moment and earned a contract. E.J. Manuel never panned out in Buffalo.
Of course, the alternative is that bad rookie preseasons are almost always a negative indicator. The list of guys who threw at least 30 passes and ended with a preseason passer rating under 50: Bryan Bennett, John David Booty, Brian Brohm, Jimmy Clausen, Colin Kaepernick, Mike Kafka, Kevin O’Connell, Tyler Palko, Matt Scott, Rusty Smith, and Charlie Whitehurst. Of that group, only Kaepernick would go on and become a starter.
It’s hard to say exactly what Prescott’s start means, other than he looks like a value in the fourth round and is probably at least replacement starter-worthy in the NFL. That is better than what Dallas had last year when Tony Romo went down.