With the NFL Draft now only two weeks away, we will begin ramping up our Colts draft coverage. Today brings a profile on a potential early-round quarterback target in Washington’s Jacob Eason.
NAME: Jacob Eason
SCHOOL: University of Washington (transferred from Georgia)
Eason is from Washington state and was selected as the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a high school senior. He chose to move cross-country and play at the University of Georgia, where he started as a true freshman. However, he suffered a season-ending injury at the beginning of his sophomore campaign. As a result, he was then Wally Pipped by Jake Fromm. Transferring back home allowed Eason to lead Chris Petersen’s Huskies as a junior, and he opted to enter the NFL Draft early. The Colts are likely to select a quarterback of the future to groom behind Philip Rivers, and Eason may be the choice.
What stands out the most when watching Eason is how fast he can push the ball. There will never be a question about his ability to “make all the throws.” While how far a quarterback can throw the ball is often over-hyped–especially during draft season–some passers lack the requisite arm strength to zip a ball into tight windows. Ironically, Eason’s successor at Georgia, Fromm, is considered a low-ceiling draft prospect because his arm lacks sufficient power. In his recent video call with local reporters, Frank Reich mentioned Rivers’ ability to press the ball downfield as a major determinant in signing him to replace Jacoby Brissett. Eason has a similar skill-set and desire for chunk plays.
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Ultimately, the biggest knock against Eason is his propensity to give opponents the ball. In only 27 careers starts, Eason threw 16 interceptions and fumbled seven times, losing six of them. He is not an overly agile player, and his statuesque frame leaves him susceptible to hits in the pocket. While the Colts boast one of the league’s best offensive lines, good NFL quarterbacks still need to maneuver in the pocket to keep plays alive. Eason must improve on his ability to extend plays without losing control.
Fortunately for Eason, he will not be asked to start right away. A year or two of learning from a future Hall of Famer in Rivers will do wonders for his ability to process defenses. Unfortunately, most players (and especially quarterbacks) learn best by doing. The road to NFL stardom is littered with strong-armed passers who made too many mistakes. Do the Colts believe Eason can take advantage of his natural talent while he learns to protect the ball? That is the multi-million dollar question.