The QB1 of Stashes
Matt Nein / @mnein9
Jacob Eason is one of the most underrated QBs from the 2020 draft class. I think we all can agree that Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert, and Hurts have bright NFL futures. Jordan Love is a complete unknown to this point while Jake Fromm is so-so and is not a player that excites me.
What about Jacob Eason though? One could argue that Jacob Eason has the best pure arm talent of the entire class. His arm talent mixed with his landing spot in Indianapolis, which I think is the perfect fit, sets him up for a potentially successful future and could be the Colts starter in 2022 or 2023.
Eason began his college career as a highly sought after 5-star QB from Washington. Instead of attending hometown University of Washington, Eason chose to travel to the east coast for his college career to the University of Georgia. Eason started as a true freshman for UGA and threw for 2430 yards and 16 TDs to only 8 INTs.
Eason was tackled at the knees during the first game of his sophomore season on a late hit out of bounds and sprained his knee. Freshman QB Jake Fromm would replace him and Eason would never get the starting job back.
Once the season was over, Eason transferred back home to the University of Washington for his junior season. He threw for 3132 yards and 23 TDs to 8 INTs.
He decided to enter the NFL draft and forgo his senior season.
Jacob Eason, in my opinion, landed in one of the best spots possible for someone of his talents. He will get to spend the next few years sitting behind one of the better QBs of the last 2 decades, Philip Rivers. It is interesting that Eason was drafted by the Colts because the best comparison for Eason is in fact Philip Rivers.
What makes Eason such an intriguing prospect is that we don’t have a ton of information about him. Eason played 2 full seasons as a starter for power five conference teams however they were separated by an entire calendar year. Not only that but the 2 different offensive systems he played in are polar opposites. UGA is a team that likes to run the ball with play action while Washington is a spread offense that throws more than half the time.
Eason does a lot of good things and a lot of bad things with almost no consistency bad or good. A true wild card. According to PFF, Eason had a 91.7 clean-pocket passer rating, which led the Pac-12. On the flip side, Eason had a 37.6 passing grade when under pressure which was second worst in the conference. Eason also had a grade of 91.4 for deep passes which was one of the best in the country.
When you watch the tape of Eason, you can tell that he has all the arm talent in the world.
There is highlight after highlight of these kind of throws. He makes it look effortless.
HC Frank Reich also echoed these same sentiments; “Yeah, I think his arm talent was probably the best in the draft as far as quarterback go. What I like about his arm talent is he can throw it on a rope, he can throw it long, he can throw it with touch, he can change the speed on the ball and he can deliver from different arm angles.”
The arm talent is there, no doubt. There are also a lot of ugly throws which leads to the lack of consistency, but you see flashes of true elite-ness here and there. As I eluded to before, Eason does not handle pressure well, he tap-dances in the pocket too much and makes early throws, and he likes to lock on to his first target (which is the most common thing I noticed). Luckily for him though, these are all things that can be corrected with the minds of NFL QB coaches. Eason also has, whom I think to be, one of the best QB coaches in the league as his head coach, Frank Reich.
To further show that Jacob Eason is indeed a wild card, after the draft Chris Mortenson reported that Eason fell to the fourth round because of character issues even though from a talent perspective he was a first-round guy.
“He has the physical attributes, Jacob Eason does, of being a first-round player… So why the fourth round? Well, as teams peeled back the onion on Jacob Eason, they found evaluations and information that his work ethic is an issue, accountability is an issue – there’s a list of about four-or five- character flaws.”
Eason will probably spend the next two years as a minimum, learning and sitting behind two true pros in Rivers and Brissett. Eason will learn how to be a true pro not only with the X’s and O’s of an NFL offense but also how to become a more consistent player. In addition to that, GM Chris Ballard and Colts HC Frank Reich have some of the best football leadership in the NFL to help Eason along. This to me, was the best landing spot possible. Not to mention that Eason fits the Colts scheme very well. Hand off to (future HOF) RB Jonathan Taylor, dump off into the flats, and throw it deep to Campbell and Pittman Jr. Pittman Jr is a very large target and will see a lot of deep balls in Reich’s offense. The deep ball is Eason’s specialty.
As of today, the news coming from Colts training camp has been nothing but praise for Eason.
Coming from someone who is as attentive to QBs as Reich is, this is significant news. It is too early to say with certainty, but perhaps Eason has already matured some knowing that he may one day be the starting QB for the Colts.
GM Chris Ballard also weighed in with his thoughts.
"We've seen some good things out of Eason. Now, Jacob's not getting the amount of reps because of Philip (Rivers) and Jacoby (Brissett), but we've seen some really good things out of Eason. He's very attentive, he's got really good poise, he's probably a better athlete than you think — probably a little better athlete than I probably gave him credit for."
In the limited videos I’ve seen from Eason in a Colts uniform, he has looked crisp throwing and has been very accurate with his passes. So far he looks to the part of an NFL QB.
From a fantasy perspective, Eason is very attainable right now. He probably isn’t on the waiver wire so you may have to send out an offer for him. The most that I personally would offer for him would be a late 2nd because I believe that he will be the Colts starter in the next few years. Rivers will probably play the next 2 years in Indy and then retire. Jacoby Brissett’s future is unknown. His contract is up at the end of this year and is an UFA next year allowing Eason to take over the backup QB role. There is a very slim chance that Brissett moves on and Rivers retires leaving Eason as the starter, but I think both of those happening is unlikely. There has also been speculation that the Colts might keep 3 QBs on the roster, which is uncommon, so if another QB were to get hurt the Colts may look to trade Brissett.
Jacob Eason is the best QB stash to be had because his talent is undeniable. If he can make strides this year in maturity, learning to read defenses better, as well as his pass reads, the Colts might have found their future QB1.
Quick Coaching Notes:
Frank Reich is a very fantasy friendly coach. From 2014 to 2017 he spent time as the offensive coordinator for San Diego and Philadelphia and the QB finishes were: 11, 10, 25, and 8. His two years in Indianapolis the QBs finished 4th (Andrew Luck) and 23rd (Jacoby Brissett). There is a large talent gap between Luck and Brissett so this year with Rivers, who is somewhere between them talent wise, will be very telling as to what the future might hold. (I believe Eason has a Rivers type ceiling.)
Reich has also favored the pass more than the run since 2014. When it comes to fantasy, it is a nice bonus when your QB is in a pass friendly scheme.