Who Wants Him? Eason Draws Continued Scrutiny With Draft a Month Out
While most upcoming collegiate and pro sports activities have been postponed or canceled by the pandemic, next month's NFL draft intends to proceed in a safe and protracted manner.
Which is a good thing for the starved fan, now going without the opening of Major League baseball, the winding down of NBA and NHL regular seasons, the PGA Tour and the Masters, the NCAA tournaments and college football spring practice.
That said, the April 23-25 NFL draft continues to be debated furiously and will be conducted virtually, and no player is drawing more pre-selection analysis going in than ex-Washington Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason.
He has the great arm but can he back it up with the poise and decision-making required to succeed at the next level?
The 6-foot-6, 227-pound Eason, a Northwest product who played one season at the UW and parts of two at Georgia, remains somewhat of a draft enigma. A wild card. An impulsive pick.
Having come out of the NFL Combine with mixed reviews, he's pegged as a late first-round or early second-round draftee.
Earlier this week, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah tossed out an interesting proposition: What if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Eason as a second-rounder to back up and learn from newly acquired quarterback icon Tom Brady and eventually replace him?
"Everyone I've spoken to about Eason believes he'll end up in Tampa Bay," Jeremiah said. "His big arm is a great fit for Bruce Arians' offense and he would be afforded the luxury of time to develop behind Brady. In a perfect world, Eason would sit for two seasons before Brady returns and hands him the reins to the offense."
When Brady was still New England property, similar draft chatter suggested that Eason might be Patriots-bound as a potential back-up. However, that franchise would have to take the former UW player in the first round with their 23rd pick overall or likely lose out on him.
New England doesn't have another draft pick until the the third round, the 87th overall, and Eason, shown after the Las Vegas Bowl in the video, most certainly won't be around then.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. called Eason a certain first-rounder -- and possibly headed to the Patriots -- prior to the combine. He since has cooled on him in his assessment. Kiper allows in a recent podcast with Todd McShay how the former Huskies QB could drop as far as the middle of the second round.
"I was a little underwhelmed," Kiper said. "You talk about the deep ball, fine. He's go the strength. He's got the big arm. But he's just a little inconsistent."
In another scenario, ColtsWire in its updated mock draft proposed that Indianapolis, which just signed Philip Rivers as its starter and is without a first-round pick, trade up and take Eason late in the first for future consideration.
In yet one more projection, Ryan Wilson of CBSsports.com has Eason going to the Chicago Bears in the second round with the 43rd pick overall, as a backup for the newly acquired Nick Foles.
"Yes, the Bears just added a QB, but Nick Foles can't be the only long-term plan at the position," Wilson wrote. "Eason doesn't have to be rushed as the team looks to develop him into a franchise QB."