The Importance of Rookies in Business: Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott

Everybody gets to be a rookie at some point. Maybe you’re just out of college. Maybe you’re switching careers from management to sales, or starting your own company. Beginning something new is always a risk—not all rookies succeed. But some do very well.  

Ezekiel Elliott was chosen fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Everyone expected Elliott to have an impact right away. Dak Prescott, on the other hand, was drafted 135th overall. The assumption was that Prescott would back up Tony Romo and possibly make a difference in a few years. However, Romo suffered a back injury that kept him out for a while, giving the rookie a chance to win the starting quarterback job.

Dak Prescott went on to win the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.  Ezekiel Elliott won FedEx Ground Player of the Year. What did these two do so right?

Being a rookie means not being sure exactly what to expect. You can use that to your advantage by going into work every day ready to learn from the veterans.  For Prescott and Elliot, that meant their more established teammates and their coaches. For you, it might mean more senior colleagues, your supervisor, or even someone from another company in the same industry who agrees to act as your mentor.

Elliott and Prescott obviously both have talent. They also both had luck—Prescott especially. That doesn’t mean Dak Prescot had his success handed to him. He was in the right place at the right time when his team needed him because he had earned being in that place. He also worked hard to take advantage of the opportunity that came his way. Part of the risk of being a rookie (or hiring one) is unpredictability, but the flipside of that is that you can find unexpected opportunities. The important thing is to grab those opportunities when they come along.

There is another thing Elliott and Prescott have in common; for all their successes, they also both failed their first year—they did not win a single playoff game. On the football field and in the business world, some failure is inevitable, especially for rookies. Some people are so afraid to fail that they don’t even try. The key to success isn’t to avoid failure but to learn from your failures and grow. You can bet that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are going to study, learn, and grow from their rookie season.

Rookies bring many positive assets to the table, such as new ideas, new energy and commitment, and an open-minded willingness to learn. Even experienced employees can embrace their inner rookie to learn and to innovate. The business world is constantly changing, and it is important to learn and grow with every experience.


In the spirit of this article, we have hired John as an intern for this summer. John comes to us from Western Carolina. While we hope to mentor and teach John about what we are doing at KazSource (the business that manages the Sportsepreneur content platform) we also are excited about the energy and drive John will bring. Rookies can teach us so much and we are grateful that John found us. You can expect to see more blog posts inspired by John’s love of sports and business/marketing.



Image of the Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott was taken by the Keith Allison under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license