Why some scouts preferred Jacoby Brissett to Dak Prescott
The New England Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett 44 picks before the Dallas Cowboys took Dak Prescott in April. And the Patriots weren’t alone in their preference.
Brissett’s unexpected debut Sunday against the Miami Dolphins after Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered what the team called a right shoulder injury jogged my memory about a conversation I had before the draft with a longtime NFL scout.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons, the scout said he had written up both QBs and he’d take Brissett over Prescott, even though Prescott – who has shown well in place of injured veteran Tony Romo so far – is the superior athlete.
“He’s got good enough physical skills and arm,” the scout said then of Brissett, 23, whom the Patriots list at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds. “He’s mobile, but not like a Dak Prescott. I think he’s a tough kid and he’s a smart kid and he’s a producer.”
Brissett began his college career at Florida before transferring to North Carolina State after his sophomore season. He started all 26 games the past two seasons in a pro-style offense for the Wolfpack, throwing 43 TD passes with just 11 interceptions (plus nine more scores as a runner) on the way to a 15-11 record and consecutive bowl games.
There were knocks on Brissett coming out, including his field vision. “That’s the thing I questioned, is the vision and quick decision-making on the second read,” the scout said. “He’s not a real alert and aggressive, quick thinker.”
Brissett ran a somewhat disappointing 40-yard dash (4.94 seconds) at the scouting combine. And though he was known at N.C. State as a great kid, Brissett wasn’t regarded as a great leader, the scout said.
But poise was considered a plus on Brissett, who will need it if Garoppolo’s injury proves significant and the rookie has to start the Patriots’ next two games before Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension expires after Week 4.
The Patriots led 21-0 when Garoppolo left after getting driven into the ground by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso late in the second quarter Sunday and held on to win 31-24, with LeGarrette Blount battering the chains forward and Brissett throwing just nine passes in relief, completing six for 92 yards.
Brissett’s next challenge? Preparing on a short week for his starting debut Thursday night against J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans.
Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.
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