Dak Prescott had an unlikely rise to starting role for the Dallas Cowboys, coming into camp his rookie season as the third-string quarterback. Drafted in the fourth round, Prescott was slated to play behind now CBS announcer Tony Romo and now offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
After a Moore ankle injury early in camp and Romo’s final injury in the third preseason game against the Seahawks, Prescott quickly found himself as the starting quarterback for Week One against the New York Giants. Since then, the Cowboys have been lucky with quarterback health, seeing the former Mississippi State player starting 16 games in four consecutive seasons.
Despite his durability, Dallas is still an injury away from having questions at the quarterback position. The last time someone took a regular season, competitive snap for the Cowboys and did not wear No. 9 or No. 4 was Week 17, 2015 when Moore lost to the Washington Redskins 34-23, wrapping up a 4-12 season.
In a win-now mode, the Cowboys must avoid another version of 2015 at all costs.
As of now, the answer would be the third-year player and current backup Cooper Rush. The undrafted Central Michigan man has only ever thrown three passes in his career, both coming in 2017. If he were to play a regular-season game, it will really be his first competitive snap since college.
Clayton Thorson is on the roster, but the rookie (who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles) has yet to ever take a snap.
To fix this issue, could the Cowboys look into drafting a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft? Dallas has taken a QB in 2016 (Prescott) and 2018 (Mike White, now with the New York Jets) and if keeping the same pace, will be selecting one this year.
The 2020 quarterback class is a deep one, perfect for the Cowboys to take a QB on Day Two or Day Three. Here are some of the candidates:
Jerry Jones has already shown the Cowboys have interest in Hurts, as they revealed the owner/general manager on facetime, interviewing the quarterback.
As a player, there are questions surrounding Hurts and what he can do. Accuracy was an issue throughout college but improved during his one season at Oklahoma. While he can still make a downfield throw here and there, his arm strength is a huge question and whether he can do it at the next level.
One thing that is known about Hurts is his ability to run and make things happen once plays break down. Hurts was second in the Big 12 in rushing last year, and ran for over 3,000 career yards and 43 touchdowns in four years. While his feet are his biggest weapon, they can also be his downfall as his tendency to leave the pocket early ruins the chances of downfield throws.
As a human and a person, not many people in this draft are going to beat out Hurts’ character. His story of getting benched for Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship, staying for another season before transferring and becoming a Heisman finalist at Oklahoma is unmatched. Nobody speaks higher of him than Nick Saban, one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.
Some might say Hurts’ most comparable current NFL player is Prescott himself. Having a backup so identical can help the offense pick up where it left off if Hurts needed to play. More than likely available late on Day Two of the draft, Hurts could be an excellent mid-round selection.
Once seen as a Heisman trophy frontrunner after an electrifying 2017 season, Khalil Tate took a drop off once Kevin Sumlin took over at Arizona in 2018. Known as an elite runner, Tate focused more on the passing game and became a more traditional style quarterback in his final two seasons at Arizona.
Tate was not invited to the combine, but his athletic ability should speak for itself. A play that comes to mind is in the Wildcats’ season opener against Hawaii this past season. Down seven with time expiring, Tate took off from the 30 yard line. Making two guys miss, he nearly made his away into the endzone before getting stopped at the one-yard line.
Like Hurts, Tate still needs to focus on keeping himself inside the pocket and not relying on his feet to make plays. When he can do that, he has the ability to make NFL level throws.
Sliding towards the backend of the draft, Tate could be available on Day Three. At the very least, Tate and his explosive ability will be able to make plays at different positions throughout the offense. A possible backup/third-string quarterback with playmaking ability across the field could bring value to the Cowboys.
Not too long ago, Kelly Bryant was throwing for 2,800 yards, rushing for over 600 yards and leading Clemson to a College Football Playoff. Getting beat out by Trevor Lawrence (no shame in that) for the starting job in 2019, Bryant transferred to Missouri to better his NFL Draft stock.
An injury-riddled season later and Bryant made no progress towards his goal. Mix in Missouri being dragged by NCAA postseason bans and it was a weird season in Columbia. Now, Bryant should be available in the later rounds of the draft, possibly becoming one of the later round steals.
Bryant’s scouting report is much like the other two, decent thrower with the ability to make NFL level throws, but relies too heavily on his feet. His 6 feet 4-inch build is nearly perfect for what a next-level QB looks like and is no stranger to high-level football.
Quarterback is nowhere near a dire position of need for the Cowboys, but it never hurts to have some kind of insurance in case of injury. Prescott’s stability has been one of the plusses throughout his career and hopefully, he is able to continue starting all 16 games of the season.
2015 was a disastrous season which also led to this current era of Cowboys’ football. A similar type of year would be a waste of a season with all the talent on the roster. Getting an improved backup quarterback that can fit the system could possibly save a playoff run for Mike McCarthy’s squad.
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