Prescott 7th-best QB in 2021 per PFF, other NFCE QBs in his dust

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It is hard to overstate the importance of a quarterback in the NFL. Whenever a club has a great player at the position, they should do whatever in their power to retain his services, and that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys did when they agreed to a record-breaking deal with Dak Prescott in the offseason.

It’s clear Prescott has become one of the league’s top signal callers, but where exactly he ranks amongst his peers has become a point of contention in some NFL circles. Pro Football Focus has emerged as arguably the leading player grading system, and the site recently released their quarterback rankings entering the 2021 season, where they ranked Prescott as the seventh-best quarterback in the NFL.

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To provide some context the ranking, former NFL quarterback and current PFF analyst Bruce Gradkowski elaborated on PFF’s criteria for the list, stating,

“PFF’s quarterback rankings are based on grading every player on every play and tapping into multiple years of data to project future performance. We go beyond just last season’s performances, and the grading works to isolate each quarterback’s performance from that of his supporting cast, making for more effective projections.”

Prescott has steadily improved as a passer since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2016. Two years ago Prescott was second in passing in the league with over 4,900 yards, and last year was on pace for over 6,000 yards before his season ending ankle injury. While he may not have kept that pace and broke the record for passing yards, the former Mississippi State Bulldog more than proved that he can be the driving force of an elite offense in the NFL.

Gradkowski had this to say about the Cowboys recently re-signed leader,

“Dak is back. Prescott was on pace for the best season of his career before going down to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 last year. For the second straight season, the Cowboys’ offense was moving the ball effectively through the air. But will the unit pick up where it left off before Prescott got injured?

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Prescott are going on seven years together — two as a player and the rest as a coach. They know what each other likes and how to make this offense roll. In Prescott’s four full NFL seasons, he’s had two top-10 finishes in PFF grade but also two finishes closer to the 20s. With Dallas’ bevy of playmakers on the outside, I would expect this offense to again find its footing once Prescott dusts off the cobwebs.”

While some Cowboys fans may justifiably argue that seven is too low for Prescott, the names above him on the list have all proven to be top-tier quarterbacks as well.

  1. Patrick Mahomes

  2. Tom Brady

  3. Aaron Rodgers

  4. Russell Wilson

  5. Deshaun Watson

  6. Josh Allen

  7. Dak Prescott

  8. Lamar Jackson

  9. Matt Ryan

  10. Baker Mayfield

  11. Matthew Stafford

  12. Ryan Tannehill

  13. Derek Carr

  14. Kirk Cousins

  15. Justin Herbert

Washington’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, the second-ranked NFC East quarterback, came in at the no. 19 spot, while New York’s Daniel Jones was one lower to no. 20, and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts was ranked no. 31, or the second-worst starter in the league. This clear advantage at the most important position is the reason the Cowboys are the odds on favorite to win the division.

Prescott should continue to climb in these rankings, as players like Tom Brady (age 43) and Aaron Rodgers (age 37) are in the twilight of their careers, and even Russell Wilson (ages 32) has five years on Prescott.

It remains to be seen how Prescott will fair following the most significant injury of his career, but by all accounts Prescott is well ahead of schedule ands should be a full participant in the Cowboys offseason programs.

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