The Dallas Cowboys are looking at 2016 as a bounce-back year, with a now-healthy Tony Romo leading the team beyond the disappointment of last season and back into title contention.
While the 2015 season was lost when Tony Romo was hurt, that may not be the case if he's injured again, as there are growing rumors that rookie Dak Prescott may be NFL-ready.
Prescott was drafted in the fourth round and is expected to compete with veteran Kellen Moore for the backup spot. While the long-term plan for the Dallas Cowboys is to allow Prescott to develop and see if he could eventually be a replacement for Tony Romo, there is some thought that he may be able to find some immediate success.SB Nation noted that Prescott's skill set could make for an immediate jump to the NFL.
"Prescott is a dual-threat player. While rookies in general struggle when they first hit the NFL, there have been quite a few recent success stories for mobile quarterbacks. Granted, some have been one-year wonders or found very little success once they've had to rely more on their arm, but they've still been able to have some value right out of the gate. Pro Bowl quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have been able to sustain careers in the NFL because they have developed their pocket-passing ability, but others have had short-term success by using their legs."
The report added that these mobile quarterbacks are often most effective early in their career before defenses have a chance to figure them out. This was the case with Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow, two quarterbacks who had a fairly steep drop-off once defenses were able to catch up with them.
Normally, a comparison to Tim Tebow is not seen as a ringing endorsement of a quarterback, but the Cowboys can see the distinctions between the two. Gil Brandt, the former vice president of player personnel with the Cowboys, said in an interview this week that Dak Prescott is far ahead of Tim Tebow.
"You're going to laugh when I say that because Tebow was a first-round pick because he was on a very, very good team at Florida," he said (via the Dallas News). "But this guy is a better football player. He has some work to do because they played the Florida offense, which is not a passing offense we see in the NFL. But I think Prescott has a lot of upside, I liked him a lot and I told one of your fellow writers back in February I think it was this was the quarterback they were going to draft."
Much of the immediate future for the Dallas Cowboys will still depend on Tony Romo's health. When he was on the field in 2014, he had the Cowboys looking like a Super Bowl contender, but when Romo went down in 2015 and the Cowboys trotted out a series of unimpressive veteran backups, they dropped back down to the bottom of the league.
Going into the 2016 season, the Cowboys look more like the 2014 version of their team than the 2015 one. They drafted the best running back in the draft in Ezekiel Elliott, taking some pressure off Romo and allowing him to better connect with the team's strong wide receiver corps.While the only way Dak Prescott sees extended playing time this year would likely be through another injury to Romo, it may not be a lost situation again if the Cowboys were to go to Plan B.
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