It doesn’t matter that Dak Prescott stands as the greatest quarterback in Mississippi State history.
It doesn’t matter that Prescott recently garnered a top-five ranking among quarterbacks in the Class of 2016.
And it doesn’t matter if those in the Mississippi State community credit Prescott for having a character/makeup combination that’s off the charts.
Right now, inside the NFL’s draft war rooms, at least one team has removed Prescott from consideration.
It’s the cold reality of this high-stakes, billion-dollar enterprise.
In the long term, Prescott’s DUI arrest from Saturday (in Starkville, Miss.) can be easily forgiven by NFL decision-makers, assuming the young man owns up to and learns from his mistake.
In the short term, though, the arrest puts a tremendous burden on the NFL teams that covet Prescott (9,376 career passing yards, 111 total TDs) as a Round 3 or 4 prospect.
Yes, NFL general managers understand how nobody’s perfect, especially with college-aged kids. But they’re also paid to make franchise-altering decisions about personnel; and this pressure goes up another notch with quarterbacks.
As such, in the aforementioned war rooms, the GMs are sitting down with their scouts, coaches, executives and cross-checkers with just one question in mind:
Can anyone make a case for keeping Dak Prescott on our draft board?
Prior to this weekend, Prescott (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) might have been a good bet for Day 2 of the draft (Rounds 2 and 3).
On the accuracy front, Prescott had a completion rate of 66.2 percent as a senior.
On the handle with care front, Prescott tossed only 23 interceptions over four seasons, with just two outings of three picks.
On the versatility front, Prescott (2,521 rushing yards) bears a strong likeness to Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick — both Day 2 picks — when scrambling from a pocket.
And on the intangible front, Prescott still has that it quality, as a potential franchise centerpiece, especially with West Coast offenses.
But none of this means much today, in comparison to the prominent red flag attached to Prescott’s name on every draft board.
Of course, there’s an upside to this ordeal:
The same franchises that coveted Prescott as a Round 3 or 4 pick can confidently budget him for Round 5 or 6. (With this expected drop of income, Prescott might want to limit his number of Cadillac Escalades to one.)
It’s the warm reality of this high-stakes, billion-dollar enterprise.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.