Sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott was unexpectedly handed the keys to the Dallas Cowboys kingdom in the 2016 preseason and went on to have a phenomenal rookie year. After former Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo was left on the bench in favor of letting Prescott lead the team, many were skeptical as to how the then-rookie would hold up. Prescott surprised the NFL by continuing to flourish despite the odds being against him.

Now, Prescott is entering his second season in the NFL and his first offseason. Dak is being called on to lead the team from day one, and with a new draft class joining the team, it’s imperative that he fully embrace his role as a leader. Prescott told the media this week he naturally leans toward veterans like Jason Witten and Sean Lee taking charge, but in the end, he’s grateful for their direction and guidance.

“It’s my first offseason. I get it, kind of running the show. In the locker room in the summer, working out with Jason Witten and Sean Lee, you’re going to naturally kind of let those guys have it. For them calling me out sometimes to the group, it’s been good … I got to thank all the vets for kind of doing a good job of kind of giving me a little bit more to say and some things to do, it’s important.”

Dak doesn’t disregard Romo’s contribution to his leadership abilities both before and after his announcement he would be retiring to a broadcasting career at CBS. Prescott told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News he’s happy for Romo and expressed his gratitude for him, saying he meant everything to his rookie season.

Although Dak is walking in the reality of being in his first offseason and leading players who have been in the league since Prescott was just ten years old, the veterans don’t consider his inexperience to be a liability. Witten chimed in saying Dak’s leadership skills are improving and he’s becoming more comfortable. The veteran tight end even commended Dak on how well he has done this offseason.

Witten stated, “Dak’s earned that what he did as a rookie. But he understands that you have to go back at it and establish it again. A guy in his second year has to do that. That’s what I have to do in my 15th year. He’s our quarterback and he’s earned that. His voice has to be heard. As he moves forward, he’ll be more comfortable with that. I can’t say enough good things about how he’s gone about it so far.”

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Lauren Scullion is a lifelong Cowboys fan, secret Packers fan, Dallas Cowboys/ NFL writer, social media guru and NFC East know-it-all.