Dak Prescott, meet your new backup.
Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will host former Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel on a free-agent visit Friday.
Gehlken reports there’s a “good chance” Driskel puts pen to paper to become the team’s new QB2, usurping less experienced in-house candidates Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci.
Cowboys flew in free agent QB Jeff Driskel tonight for a Friday visit, source said. A good chance Driskel signs, becomes favorite to serve as Dak Prescott’s primary backup in 2021.
Driskel has nine career NFL starts. Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci and Cooper Rush combine for two.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) May 7, 2021
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A 2016 sixth-round draft pick, Driskel broke into the NFL with the 49ers. As a rookie, he bounced from San Francisco to Cincinnati, where he’d spend the following three seasons behind then-starting and ex-Cowboys QB Andy Dalton. Driskel appeared in nine games for the Bengals, starting five — all in 2018.
Driskel was signed by the Detroit Lions in 2019 and would make three winless starts that season, throwing for 685 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions on 59.0% passing. A hamstring injury eventually ended his Lions tenure.
Driskel, 28, went on to ink a two-year, $5 million contract with the Broncos in March 2020, receiving $2.5 million fully guaranteed with a $1.5 million signing bonus. He logged 115 offensive snaps in Denver; three appearances and one start, a blowout loss to the Buccaneers. He finished the year having completed 35 of 64 balls (54.7%) for 432 yards, three TDs, and two INTs. The Broncos released Driskel on Monday.
The Florida native played collegiately for the Gators from 2011-14 prior to transferring to Louisiana Tech. His prototypical build (6-4, 234) and dual-threat ability — he notched 14 rushing touchdowns as a collegian — were foundational qualities that drew pre-draft comparisons to former Packers QB Brett Hundley.
“Driskel has many tools that professional scouts covet when evaluating the position,” his 2016 scouting report reads, via Inside The Pylon. “He possesses the big arm to make every throw required of him in the NFL and challenges the defense along the sidelines and deep down the field. Plus, he has an aggressive nature and is not shy to try and stick the football into some smaller windows.
“Inconsistency is his biggest hurdle during the developmental process, both in terms of accuracy and his decision-making. Likely, he sticks as a third-string QB for a season or two and is given a chance to iron out these two areas of his playing style. Then he would likely contend for a second-string spot in his second or third season in the NFL, and in the best case earns a starting spot in the league around his fourth season. If everything breaks right he has the potential to be a starter in this league.”
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Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this offseason he’s aiming to provide “competition” at quarterback, despite franchise cornerstone Prescott landing a historic $160 million contract. The team chose not to bring back 2020 backup Andy Dalton, who signed with the Chicago Bears.
Gilbert was considered the tentative favorite for No. 2 duties, but the addition of Driskel likely would bump him to third on the depth chart. And seeing as how Dallas won’t carry more than three signal-callers (if that) on the 53-man roster, it could spell imminent danger for Rush and DiNucci.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL