Entering the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys already had their franchise quarterback in Tony Romo. Therefore, the Cowboys used their high first-round selection on Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott to help ease the burden for their veteran passer. So when Dallas used their second of two fourth-round selections on Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, it figured to be only as a developmental project.
Fast forward to the start of the regular season, and Prescott was named the team’s starter after injuries suffered by Romo and then-backup, Kellen Moore. The rest, as they say, is history with Dak leading the team to a 13-3 record, ousting Romo as the permanent starter, and winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
But when we look back at the 2016 draft class we discover that seven quarterbacks were taken prior to Prescott in the fourth round. In fact, the two top picks that year were passers Jared Goff by the Los Angeles Rams at number one overall and Carson Wentz to the Philadelphia Eagles right after.
The careers of Goff, Wentz, and Prescott have been linked ever since. And out of the three, only Dak hasn’t been able to lead his team on a Super Bowl run. With Goff under center, the Rams went to Super Bowl LIII following the 2018 regular season.
Wentz helped the Eagles win their first Lombardi Trophy the year prior in Super Bowl LII, although he was sidelined with an ACL injury after Week 14. Ironically, the season-ending injury took place in a game against Goff and the Rams.
But both Goff and Wentz have had their issues as of late. And a recent trade has essentially placed Prescott in the catbird seat when comparing these three passers.
On Saturday night, the Detroit Lions reportedly agreed to trade their longtime franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford, to the Los Angeles Rams. In exchange, the Lions will receive a desirable draft haul that includes two first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 plus a third-round selection in April’s draft.
Another critical part of the deal in the Stafford trade was the Rams also shipping Goff to the Motor City. He’s owed a whopping guaranteed $43.25 million over the next two years according to Pro Football Talk. So some view Goff’s addition to the trade as a salary dump by Los Angeles.
The Rams were willing to give up multiple high draft picks and Goff in exchange for a soon-to-be 33-year old Stafford who is coming off two injury-plagued seasons. That should tell you everything you need to know about what Los Angeles thinks about the quarterback they originally traded two first-round picks, two-second rounders, and two third-round selections to move up for in the 2016 draft.
As for Wentz, he finds himself in a quarterback competition with 2020 second-round selection, Jalen Hurts. That after his head coach, Doug Peterson, was fired with the future of the quarterback position seemingly at the forefront of that controversial decision.
That brings us back to Prescott. Yes, the two-time Pro Bowler is coming off a season-ending ankle injury that limited him to five games last season. But he is also considered one of the league’s most talented passers with the Cowboys leading the NFL in total yards in 2019. And Dak appears to be on the precipice of a long-term deal in Dallas.
The Rams’ recent decision to ship Jared Goff to Detroit and Carson Wentz’s struggles in Philly have cemented Dak Prescott atop this trio of 2016 passers as the ultimate draft steal and the best quarterback to come out of that draft class.