Tha Sports Junkies 101

How Dak Prescott Has Changed The Future For The Chicago Bears

Dak Prescott changed future of Chicago Bears Vernon Hadnot via Flickr


How Dak Prescott Has Changed The Future For The Chicago Bears

Back in the spring, leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was doubted as a legit NFL QB.  He ran a spread offense at Mississippi State, and while he showed he could make plays, he also had no experience with three-step drops and full field reads.  However, he proved he could do both in the NFL, and has not only changed the future for the Cowboys, but for the rest of the league too, especially the Chicago Bears.

One of the primary concerns with quarterback draft prospects that come from spread offenses in college is their perceived lack of ability to make full field reads.  These specific Quarterbacks are trained to read a couple chosen defenders and decide where the ball is going based on what the defense does.  Depending on how their spread offense is run, they may be asked to identify the what coverage the defense is doing pre-snap, or they may just react once the ball is snapped.

One advantage of only reading a couple defenders, however, is that these QBs learn how to read those defenders very well.  If they can be taught to and understand how to read a whole defense, figure out their coverage, identify blitzers, and check to the correct play, they can be very successful.  This is even more challenging without four years of training, but smart players can pick up on it.  And Dak Prescott is clearly very smart.

Spread Quarterbacks also are almost always mobile because options, and more specifically the read option, are a huge part of the spread.  Reading one defender and deciding who to give the ball to is the staple of the spread, but it requires a quarterback who can actually pick up rushing yards when he keeps the ball.  That kind of mobility is another big reason for Prescott‘s success at the NFL level.  Defenses are used to pocket passers and either covering a man or a zone or rushing the QB.  It throws a big loop hole in game plans when they also have to account for the QB running the ball, and sometimes not even on scrambles but on designed runs.

Prescott is not the only young QB to have these traits, however, and this is why the Bears‘ future has changed because of him.  In the upcoming draft, there will be a boatload of Quarterbacks to choose from to build a franchise around, and some of them has these same traits as Dak Prescott.  Without Prescott, these prospects wouldn’t have as much of a high regard as they do.  With the Bears struggling this season and looking to have a high draft pick, they will most likely get whoever their second choice is at Quarterback (assuming the browns do indeed end up with the first pick and select a QB with it, both of which are likely).

Heisman candidate DeShaun Watson from Clemson University is the first that comes to mind.  The Tigers don’t run a pure spread, as it is more of a pistol offense, but it is certainly not a true pro system.  However, Watson has proved he can make reads very well, is mobile, and is mostly accurate with the football.  DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame is another intriguing QB prospect.  Kizer, like Prescott, comes from a spread system, and is also used to making reads, is mobile and is a great athlete, although accuracy is a slight question mark.  However, he had some great throws against Texas  in the first week that were highlight-reel touchdowns.  Both quarterbacks, especially Watson, look like they have the potential to be elite NFL QBs while still coming from spread (or pistol) offenses just like Dak Prescott.  Brad Kaaya from Miami is also a solid third choice if the Bears don’t get either Watson or Kizer.

If Chicago completely turns around their team, they could still make the playoffs if they won pretty much every game from here on out.  If they don’t, odds are that they will get a high draft pick and they could potentially draft a quarterback.  If the record is worse enough at the end of the year, different management and coaching may be brought in and they may or may not have differing philosophies on when to draft a QB to replace Cutler.  They may even want to wait a year to snag Lamar Jackson from Louisville, who is lighting up college football.  Either way, Chicago will be drafting a quarterback at some point in the next couple drafts for their future, and a lot of the top prospects are going to be coming out of spread offenses.  If not for Dak Prescott, the Bears and other teams would be questioning whether or not they want to invest their future into a player who has never ran a pro-style offense.  Obviously there will always be risks with any prospects, but Dak Prescott has changed the way teams will look at spread offenses, which will change how the Chicago Bears draft in the near future and how the prospects they choose will succeed in the NFL.