Updated: Jul 10, 2020
When talking about who is better we first have to establish what we mean by that. In this article I will talk about the skills needed to be a great quarterback, and who possesses more of those skills. I will take injuries into consideration as they play a part in how good a quarterback is.
Here is what I will be considering:
I will not be taking into consideration the rookie seasons of either quarterback. This is not because Dak’s rookie season is objectively better, but more so that I think it is unfair to judge a player by their first year in the league when they have played many others. I will also be using advanced stats from pro football reference. Without further ado, here is my breakdown:
I made a table comparing some stats that I feel paint a good picture when it comes to accuracy and overall quarterbacking talent. I used stats between the years 2017-2019:
Wentz leads in many statistical categories that indicate skill. When he doesn’t have better stats, he is usually very close. In accuracy based stats, Wentz and Dak finnish close. The two of them have very similar bad throw %. In the years I could find (2018 and 2019), Wentz’s bad throw % was 17.8% and 14.4% respectively. Dak’s were 17.3% and 14.8%. Very close. Conversely, this means they are also very similar when it comes to on target %. They also have similar completion percentage indexes. Wentz had a completion percentage index of 123 and 99 in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Dak’s was 116 and 103 during those years.
A good metric to compare their arm talent would be deep ball efficiency. The problem is, I can’t find sufficient stats to compare their deep ball ability. The only thing I’m left with is their career deep ball completion %, in which Dak’s is 45% and Wentz’s is a close 40%. The problem is, Wentz did not have sufficient deep threats compared to the Cowboy’s Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and Amari Cooper. I would even argue that Wentz has only had a Deep Threat in 14 of the games that he had played in his career (13 with Torrey Smith and 1 with Desean Jackson). It just so happens that he plays like an MVP when he has a deep threat.
Make of all this as you want, but I feel Wentz has a far better arm, and many analysts agree with me, but there hasn’t been a huge sample size of their stats so there is no definitive answer. I do believe that on tape, Wentz’s arm is better and that is the reason he was drafted so high and had a successful 2017 campaign. I believe Wentz has a stronger arm, he has better throwing form, more zip, and he is more accurate. Dak has slightly better release, though. I have to give him credit for that.
I believe that last season Wentz showed that he is a far better leader than Dak is. When you look at the final games leading into the playoffs, Wentz played near perfect. He did not throw a single interception, and he routinely put his team in a position to score. Dak Prescott went 2-2 down the stretch while Wentz went 4-0. I want to look closely at the time when Wentz and Dak met up. So far, this has been the most important game for evaluating the better quarterback in my opinion. Everything was on the line this game. If the Eagles won, they would most likely make the playoffs and vice versa. Wentz clearly played better in this game despite not having Ertz, Howard, Alshon, Jackson, and Agholor. He was 31 for 40 passing for 319 yards and a touchdown. Add on leading his team to the 1 so that Miles Sanders could rush for a touchdown. Dak was 25 for 44 with 265 yards and no touchdowns. That was including a crucial sack that he gave on 2nd down just before 2 straight incompletions on the final drive. The fact that Dak wasn’t able to play well just because of a poor run game shows that he is not on the same level as Wentz.
Dak underperformed against most good teams. Watch the Bears, Vikings, Packers, Bills, or Patriots games. Yes, he was solid for most of the game against the Vikings, but he made bonehead throws late in the game. On 4th down he missed Amari Cooper coming into open space because he was locked into Zeke. Against the Patriots, he threw possibly the worst pass of any quarterback last season jumping off his back foot. It landed straight into Stephon Gillmore’s hands and lost them the game.
When things don’t go Dak’s way, he underperforms. He is 10-10 against top 10 defenses. Wentz is 11-5. He is 5-13 against 10+ win teams. Wentz is 9-11. He has a 1.17 TD:TO ratio against over .500 teams. Wentz has a 1.43. When Zeke does not perform well, Dak sinks. Without Zeke, he averages a touchdown less and an interception more every game. Wentz can count on one hand how many rushers he’s had with over 100 yards. Dak played poor in 2017 due to lack of talent at receiver. The fact that all of a sudden he plays better has a direct correlation with the talent around him. My main point for this part is that Wentz is more of a leader and Dak is a follower.
Both quarterbacks have flaws when it comes to decision making. Wentz has the tendency to try to fit the ball in too tight of a space. Due to his raw arm talent, this can work a decent amount of times, and it can lead to some great highlights. Wentz is not a perfect quarterback by any means, and I will acknowledge when he makes mistakes. In a game against the redskins, Wentz threw an incredible touchdown pass to Miles Sanders that you have most likely seen many times. In this play, however, Wentz missed his first read to Dallas Goedert, and decided to scramble out and play hero ball. It worked out in the end, but it was unnecessary. Wentz does that a lot. He tries to take the game into his own hands a lot. I feel that is one of the reasons he has had injury history. He’s not the type of quarterback to give up when a play is broken. Sometimes that is good and bad. Dak also has his fair share of decision making mistakes. Dak will lock onto targets (primarily Cooper and Zeke) and throw to them even if they are not open. At the end of the Eagles vs Cowboys game, this was on full display. Not once, but twice did Dak lock onto targets and make incorrect passes. On the fourth down pass, Dak Prescott clearly was only considering going to Cooper, as he threw a bad pass in a clean pocket. This resulted in a loss. Dak, however, catches a lot of breaks with his lapses of judgement. Because of the skill of his receivers, he can get away with locking onto targets at times.
So obviously Wentz has had a fair share of injuries. He is definitely less reliable than Dak in that way. The only reason that I don’t take this into too high of consideration is because the two big injuries Wentz faced were both freak accidents. Wentz hasn’t had any lingering injury issues such as players like Andrew Luck has had. When Wentz tore his ACL, and that was the first knee ligament injury he has had. When he fractured his back that was also the first of that. I think it has been more bad luck than it has been lingering injuries. I also feel like it is blown out of proportion. I will say that he is less reliable in that way, but I also wouldn’t be expecting him to get more freak injuries in the future. Same reason I wouldn’t be betting on Dashuan Watson to get another freak injury.
Those were the biggest categories, but there is more that makes a good quarterback. Quickly I want to go through other categories such as size, athleticism, and pre-snap. Wentz is by far the bigger quarterback as he is 6 foot 5 . Dak is a little smaller at 6 foot 2. Wentz is also much more athletic than Dak, and that should be a given. Though he doesn’t scramble often, he is much more mobile in the pocket, and he makes sackers miss routinely. As for pre-snap, there is no definitive answer on who’s better, but I think Dak can struggle in this area at times. In the final drive against the Vikings there were some lapses in judgement that were on full display. Many people like to say that a lot of Dak’s losses were solely on the bad play calling, but a good quarterback should be able to audible when they are in the wrong play.
Though this doesn’t have anything to do with the skill of either quarterback, I just want to add the crucial mistakes that the eagles team made during the season. The Eagles could have possibly gotten 2-3 more wins if not for the crucial drops by Nelson Agholor, and Dallas Goedert against the Falcons, Lions, and Patriots. I wanted to add that, as I felt it was important to note.
In conclusion, Wentz has a better, if not equal arm compared to Dak, far better leadership, slightly better decision making, better pre-snap, better athleticism, and better size. The only knock on him is his reliability, but I am not concerned about future injuries to Wentz.I don’t think that matters as much as people say it does due to his injuries freakish nature. As someone who watches a lot of football and has seen these two players dozens of times, it feels weird that I even have to debate this. Many NFL analysts agree with me on this topic. A football mind I trust, Brett Kollman, says that when you watch the film, Wentz has far better arm talent and decision making. He even went as far as to say that Wentz is a top 5 quarterback at worst. As Dan Orlosky said, “One player is great. The other is just good”. I mean no hate against Dak, but it’s hard to argue that given the same circumstances, he would be better.
Did I change your mind? Comment below!