Mississippi State redshirt senior quarterback Dak Prescott is one of the most athletic at his position in the 2016 NFL Draft class. At 6’2”, 226 lbs. with a thickly built lower body and 10” hands, Prescott has good size for the position. He will be a 23-year old rookie.
The first thing that stands out about Dak Prescott is his athletic ability. He is a very good athlete for his size as he shows good speed and strength in the open field. He brings value on designed quarterback run plays, which may entice some NFL offensive coordinators.
Although he missed very few games during his college career, durability may become a question mark over time due to the fact that Prescott lowers his shoulder and seems to embrace contact rather than protecting himself with a slide.
As a passer, Prescott played in an offense that included many short predetermined throws. However, he is comfortable reading through full field progressions and shows flashes of impressive eye usage. He utilizes pump fakes to move defenders and he does a good job of placing the ball away from the defender when making back-shoulder throws.
He displays very impressive pocket presence and does a good job of finding space in the pocket to avoid the rush while keeping his eyes downfield. For the most part, he keeps his feet hot and maintains a ready to throw position while navigating the pocket.
He possesses the ability to make throws from multiple platforms at times and displays flashes where he makes plays when things break down. He is difficult to bring down in the pocket and normally keeps his eyes downfield when scrambling. He shows comfort making throws on the move to either side.
Prescott throws with very good velocity to all levels of the field, but his overall accuracy must improve. When playing in rhythm with tight mechanics, his ball placement is typically good to the short and intermediate levels. Issues arise when he is forced to speed up or slow down his process.
On these occasions, his mechanics break down, which leads to easy misses and scattershot ball placement. When he misses, his passes tend to sail high. This is problematic because tipped high passes often lead to interceptions in the NFL. When throwing the deep ball, Prescott displays impressive touch and does a good job of holding safeties on a hash or in the middle of the field with his eyes.
Prescott does not consistently play with timing and precision in the passing game. He shows a tendency to hesitate and stare down receivers before pulling the trigger and he does not typically anticipate windows and throw prior to his receiver’s break. This leads to big hits on his receivers and pass breakups, as defenders are able to break on the ball before its arrival. At times, Prescott will choose his intended target prior to the snap in spite of the coverage dictating that the ball should go in a different direction. This leads to forced throws into traffic and wide-open receivers ignored.
Overall, Dak Prescott displayed significant improvement as a passer each season during his college career, but he still has a long way to go if he wants to develop into a solid starting quarterback in the NFL. Improved throwing accuracy, playing with better timing and rhythm, and doing a better job of anticipating windows are three areas where Prescott must significantly improve.
Early on in his career, he will be much better served as a backup quarterback, who can come in the game when the starter goes down and provide a spark to the offense with his combination of passing traits and athletic ability.
In regard to the Cleveland Browns, Dak Prescott should only be considered if they are looking for a backup on the third day of the 2016 NFL Draft. While Hue Jackson’s experience with getting the most out of young quarterbacks could greatly increase Prescott’s chances of developing into a starter down the road, there will likely be better options available when the team makes their earlier selections.
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