As many expected, Jacob Eason will take his talents to the NFL and not use all of his college eligibility at Washington.
There have never been any questions about his physical abilities: First-round arm talent and athletic size. However, there were times when Eason struggled to deliver a catchable ball at critical times under duress.
"Eason’s performance under pressure in the Utah game was cover-your-eyes bad," said Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner. "He went 4-of-18 for 24 yards when faced with pressure for a 29.3 passing grade."
Entering the bowl game, the Huskies offense struggled to convert drives into touchdowns, ranking last among the 130 teams in the FBS.
However, in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Eason-led Husky offense converted all six Red Zone opportunities into points, including five touchdowns. For the season, Eason threw 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Pro Football Focus' Cam Mellor says Eason continually proved his skills throughout the Washington football season but also noted that Eason's ceiling may be best tested in the NFL.
"Eason's tools may present better at the professional level," said Mellor. "He wasn't the all-everything Husky fans expected this season."
Another factor in Eason's performance may have been Washington's conservative play-calling, which led to an underperforming offensive unit. Mellor noted there were times this past season when the Huskies were held back by the struggles of the Lake Stevens product.
A lament of many Husky followers is the fact that Eason's development may have been hampered because he was not handed the quarterback reigns at the beginning of fall camp.
Former Washington coach Chris Petersen allowed for a quarterback duel to proceed between Eason and Jake Haener until the final week of camp. In doing so, Eason might have been deprived of starter reps and building rapport with his receivers.
Perhaps the silver lining to an up-and-down season is that, based upon his physical attributes, Eason has a good chance to be a first-round pick, though he likely slides into the latter part of the opening round. That would give him the opportunity to learn and grow with a stable franchise that wouldn't need him to produce immediately.
Many NFL draft experts expect Eason to be the fourth or fifth quarterback taken in the draft. He is listed behind three recent Heisman Trophy candidates, winner Joe Burrows from LSU, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Justin Herbert from Oregon, plus his former Georgia teammate, Jake Fromm.
Where Do the Huskies Go From Here?
Spring practices are a few months off but sophomore-to-be Jacob Sirmon, Eason's backup, will be the leader of the remaining quarterback corps. He'll be joined by redshirted freshman Dylan Morris and early enrollee recruit Ethan Garbers.