Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott was the best quarterback in the SEC last year and is a possible day two pick. With the ongoing uncertainty at quarterback, could he be a target for the Jets?
2015 Statistics: 316/477 (66.2%), 3793 yards (8.0 Y/A), 29 TD, 5 INT, 106.3 NFL passer rating; 160 rush attempts, 588 yards rushing (3.68 Y/A), 10 rush TD
Combine Measurements: 6’2″, 226 pounds, 10 7/8 inch hands
40 Yard Dash: 4.79 seconds
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches
Broad Jump: 116 inches
3 Cone Drill: 7.11 sec
Strengths: Prescott is a great athlete with an NFL-caliber arm and good size. A legitimate dual threat, he played under former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen in an offensive style made famous by Tim Tebow. Early on he may have been considered a position change possibility, but his senior season showed impressive strides as a true passer. When his feet are set, he generally throws with good ball placement and isn’t afraid to test tight coverage. His receiver is usually given a chance to make a play, and he displays nice touch on his deeper throws. Encouraging for his NFL projection, he flashed the ability to move past the primary read on plays and manipulate defense with his eyes. Naturally he also shows the ability to throw well on the run, even across his body. Crucially he can use his athleticism to aid as a passer, flashing solid pocket presence and escapability. A dual threat quarterback can struggle with the tendency to take off when pressure hits or the first read isn’t open, but Prescott shows a patience and willingness to extend the pass play rather than take off. One thing that cannot be questioned is Prescott’s toughness. Like Tebow, Prescott runs seeking contact and more importantly for his NFL projection showed the ability to withstand a lot of hits in the pocket.
Weaknesses: As far as NFL projection goes, he still has a lot of work to do. Prescott didn’t take a snap under center in any of the film I watched. While he has shown the ability to work through reads, he can suffer from primary read tunnel vision still too often at this point. His footwork is inconsistent and this leads not only to ball placement being off but the velocity of his throws as well. This particularly is an issue in the short game: he doesn’t miss a lot of easy throws, but sometimes he sets his receiver up poorly for yard-after-catch opportunities or makes the catch unnecessarily difficult. While he doesn’t have an issue attacking downfield, he does have somewhat of a tendency to hang his receivers out to dry over the middle. Given his running style is predicated on seeking contact, he’ll need to work on a safer mentality when making plays with his legs. (…or not. Right Fitz?) Lastly, he’ll undoubtedly have questions raised by teams regarding his DUI arrest just a month ago.
Overall: Prescott is an intriguing prospect, and one that strangely does not get as much attention as the other second tier prospects like the pro style experienced Connor Cook, the polarizing five star recruit Christian Hackenberg, or the mouth-watering potential of Cardale Jones. He’s received natural comparisons to Tim Tebow – size, athleticism, similar collegiate role and style of play – but that’s also doing Prescott a bit of a disservice. He didn’t match Tebow’s stellar college career, but he doesn’t have Tebow’s massive mechanical red flags coming out and has shown more promise as a traditional passer. A team that can draft Prescott and be patient with him could see him build significantly on his senior season and be rewarded.
Jets Fit: Any team that takes Prescott is going to need to sit him for at least a season, probably two. At present the Jets remain committed to adding a bridge quarterback, whether it’s Fitzpatrick returning or the flirtations with Brian Hoyer. That could make Prescott a possibility on day two. Two aspects of Prescott’s game that fit with Chan Gailey: Prescott is a mobile quarterback, and Prescott’s one-read tendencies could be less of a big deal in an offense that had Fitzpatrick firing quickly after one read to begin with.
Projection: Top 75 pick. Obviously Prescott will have to answer questions about accountability after his DUI arrest, but he has intriguing physical tools and has made enough progress as a passer for NFL teams to consider him a prospect that may be just scratching the surface.
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