Jacob Eason once seemed poised for stardom, leading the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC as a 6’6 5 star recruit freshman. An untimely injury, and the emergence of Jake Fromm, led to a transfer. NCAA rules mandating players sit out a year made Eason fade from the spotlight. He wasn’t idle though, running Washington’s scout team the entire 2018 season and honing his craft. 2019 has seen him reemerge on the West Coast, with a wide range of opinions on his potential in the NFL. I watched every snap of Eason I could find to see what caliber of quarterback prospect the once highly touted recruit has become.
Strengths: What. An. Arm. My goodness. While it is true that arm strength is overrated when evaluating quarterbacks-see Josh Allen/Gardner Minshew- I would be remiss not to lead with it. Every throw is made with ease, and he can throw the deep ball on a rope. It’s impressive. Eason is mobile enough and strong enough to extend plays and be effective in short yardage situations. He regularly converts 3rd and 4th short yardage with sneaks. He doesn’t fold in the face of pressure, and is willing to take a shot while delivering a pass. Throwing on the move, and from odd platforms, is a big plus in his game- his 1st quarter touchdown against BYU to Newton was a thing of beauty. To be able to roll right, throw across his body deep to the back of the endzone like that is a play a lot of guys playing on Sundays right now can’t make. The most important, and impressive, throw I’ve seen from Eason this year was against Arizona in the 2nd half. It was an intermediate to deep throw for a touchdown to Fuller. He put incredible touch on a pass that dropped in a bucket for his receiver. He has had success with back shoulder throws his entire career, but that kind of touch is a different kind of throw that I wasn’t confident he could make.
Weaknesses: His mental processing, while improving weekly, is still a work in progress. At times he just takes too long to process what he’s seeing. His mechanics aren’t necessarily a weakness, but they are inconsistent, and too many avoidable misfires happen because of them. His pocket presence must improve, as when looking to avoid pressure he will almost always look to roll backwards and outside of the tackle box, even when the edge pressure is what he feels and he walks right into a sack that’s got to kill his tackles. He must learn to climb the ladder in the pocket and move laterally to buy himself some time, and help out his offensive line. Due to the time he has missed due to his transfer and losing his job to Jake Fromm, he is essentially just a 2 year starter as a senior, and is raw because of it. Game experience is irreplaceable, and he needs more of it.
Final Thoughts: I love Eason as a prospect. He’s currently 3rd in my quarterback rankings, and while it’s unlikely he’ll crack my top 2, I’m not ready to rule it out. Having that arm talent, and the ability to use it effectively as opposed to throwing fastballs every snap, is infatuating from a scouting perpective. His athleticism and prototypical frame, combined with the reputation he has earned at Washington as a hard worker and charismatic leader, make me confident in saying he will be a franchise quarterback at the next level. First round grade from me. Hope to see him land in a scheme that has plenty of vertical concepts to maximize his potential.
Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers