Will Cowboys Dak Prescott be CPOY in 2021?
By: Adam Hulse (Twitter: @AdamHulseSports)
After missing the majority of the 2020 NFL season due to a gruesome ankle injury, Dak Prescott is ready to get back on the field, and this time with a massive brand new contract worth 240 million dollars. The young quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys has already had a promising start to his career, and if he is fully recovered then he will likely continue to get even better from here. According to the Draft Kings Sports Book, Prescott has the sixth-best odds in the NFL to win the MVP for the upcoming 2021 season. This shows the high expectations and what he is capable of. He very well may win the MVP, but he is even more likely to win Comeback Player of the Year. Here are the reasons why.
A Terrifying Injury
The severity of the injury, or other situation, that a player is coming back from is an important factor when considering the Comeback Player of the Year award. Some examples of this include the devastating knee injury that Adrian Peterson overcame in 2011 and the life-threatening road back from leg surgery by Alex Smith last year. The ankle injury of Dak Prescott definitely qualifies in terms of severity. After a scramble in week 5 against the New York Giants, his ankle was left facing the wrong direction. He was diagnosed with a compound fracture and complete dislocation, which required two surgeries to correct. If a mobile quarterback like Prescott can bounce back from this type of injury, it would be extremely impressive. It would surely score votes for the award.
Through his first five seasons in the NFL, Dak Prescott has put up some very solid numbers. In each of his four full seasons, he threw for at least 3300 yards and accounted for a minimum of 28 total touchdowns each season. Most importantly, in each of his last 3 full seasons, he clearly improved from one year to the next. In his shortened 2020 season, he was off to a great start to keep that trend going. He was even leading the entire NFL in passing yards before the injury cut his campaign way too short.
The year-to-year improvements in production are a strong indicator that we have not yet even seen the full potential of Prescott yet. There is good reason to believe that he will continue to get better moving forward. If that is the case for the 2021 season despite the long road back from his injury, he will almost certainly win the Comeback Player of the Year, and he will be among the favorites for the NFL MVP as well.
A huge factor that will help Prescott get back on track is the abundance of weapons in the Dallas Cowboys offense. This is such a luxury for the development of a young quarterback. It has already been very obvious that he and Amari Cooper have a special chemistry and there is no reason to think that will change. Cooper is the prime target while Michael Gallup has shown his ability to make big plays downfield. Prescott has already proven that he can put up big seasons with these two wide receivers, and the offense will theoretically be even more dangerous with the addition of CeeDee Lamb in the slot.
The best friends of a quarterback, especially one coming back from injury, are a solid offensive line and a strong running game. The Cowboys have both of these. The offensive line was not great last season, but they should be healthier this year and should therefore get back to playing at a much higher level. The same can be said for Ezekiel Elliot, who didn’t suffer his own injuries but did suffer from the injuries around him. With the offense back to full strength, Zeke is more than likely going to bounce back this year as well. At the top of his game, Zeke is still one of the best running backs in the league.
For all of the reasons outlined, Dak Prescott is a strong candidate to win Comeback Player of the Year. He is still trending up in terms of his production and his best is probably still unseen. He has a prime wide receiving target, a true deep threat, an explosive slot receiver, a top-level talent at running back, and a dominating offensive line. The offense is all set up and ready to welcome him back, as long as his reconstructed ankle allows it. This is a big opportunity for a statement season by Prescott and one that could catapult him to the very top tier of quarterbacks in the NFL. If all goes according to plan, he will win this award.