(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss what to expect from quarterback Dak Prescott in his seventh season with the Cowboys.)
4) Is Dak Ready To Prove He's An Elite QB?
Mickey Spagnola: That depends on what your definition of "elite" is. Because if you look at stats, Dak's already pretty darn elite. Since he entered the NFL in 2016, only three quarterbacks have more wins than Dak, who has gone 53-32 in the 85 games played. Those three would be named Tom Brady (71), Aaron Rodgers (59) and Russell Wilson (58). That's it. To me, that's pretty elite company. The only difference being Brady has won three Super bowls in the past six seasons. The other two? None in the past six seasons. Also, consider this. Dak's QB rating for the 2021 season of 104.2 ranked third in the NFL behind just Rodgers (111.9) and Joe Burrow (108.3). And when it comes to all-time career QB ratings among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 attempts, his 98.7 rating ties him for fifth with Drew Brees. That again is pretty elite company. Now is the time to win playoff games, Dak only 1-3, two of those losses the last-second walk-off by Green Bay his rookie season and this past year to San Francisco, having moved the team into scoring position down six when the final second ticked off the clock. Win a playoff game or two and these "elite" questions are sure to disappear.
Nick Eatman: Can he win games? That's really all that matters. That's the question that comes first, and the "elite" part will follow. But it doesn't really matter if he's a Top 5 QB or a Top 10 QB. We'll never really come to a consensus on that because it doesn't really matter. What matters is if Dak can carry this team to the playoffs and make a deep run. Who knows what kind of receiver help he'll get. And no one knows exactly what the O-line will look like. But if Dak can be the consistent force that drives this team back to the playoffs, then yes, he'll be an elite QB in my book – not that it matters much. It's funny because people always tend to put a number on that word "elite." Like there has to be just 5 or 10. I don't really know where Dak ranks among the best in the league, probably somewhere between 6-12. But it all depends on his wins. If he can win games, he can be even higher than that.
Kyle Youmans: Ah, the $160 million question. And because of his contract, there are a few more skeptics around the franchise quarterback as he enters his seventh season. My gut says yes, he's ready. After every full offseason he's ever had, he's taken leaps to becoming a better quarterback. In the first seven weeks of the 2021 season, he was firmly in the MVP conversation. I believe with a fully healthy offseason, he can get back to that and will continue to progress as the man behind center.