Training Camp couldn't be off to a worse start for the Indianapolis Colts. On top of injuries to multiple starters already, starting quarterback Carson Wentz has been labeled as out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Wentz is meeting with Dr. Robert Anderson, per Joel Erickson of the IndyStar, to determine the severity of the injury. Wentz has been ruled out for the rest of Training Camp and the preseason however, so the injury does look to be pretty serious.
With the uncertainty surrounding Wentz, the attention now turns to second year quarterback Jacob Eason. Eason, a fourth round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, spent most of last year on the inactive list behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett. With this injury to Wentz, Eason is the de facto starter for at least the rest of the preseason.
In today's film room, I dive into the college film of Eason and talk about his game and what he could bring to the Colts as a starter.
Eason is one of the more gifted throwers to come out of the last few draft classes. He has a rifle for an arm, which is a much needed trait in the NFL. He has the ability to hit routes outside the hash marks without losing top velocity on his throws.
When he needs to drive the ball, he is able to step into his throws and deliver it like a pitcher throwing a fastball. This was the best example on film, as he threads the needle in between the safety and cornerback (and over the underneath linebacker's head) for the score.
Eason has effortless velocity, meaning that he can hit deep passes without putting too much torque on his body. He throws a fairly accurate deep ball too, which could help out the Colts in the downfield passing game.
When Eason is able to play from a clean pocket and is given simple reads, he can put the ball wherever he wants with his arm talent. Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into playing quarterback but he has excellent raw ability.
Eason had plenty of struggles in college, but I was never worried about his ability to see the correct throw on film. Even on some of the more aggressive shots against zone coverage, Eason showcased the ability to properly diagnose where the ball needs to go and deliver it with confidence.
These are some examples of these shot plays. These are tough throws for a quarterback to make because they are in-traffic, risky plays. Eason has the confidence to take these shots, though, and delivers them accurately.
Struggles with Pressure
This is by far and away the biggest concern in Eason's game and something that could be make-or-break for him in the NFL. Quarterbacks in the NFL have to be able to navigate and perform under pressure and Eason had major struggles in this area at Washington.
These are just a few examples of his struggles against USC. He bails from clean pockets far too often and makes poor decisions when faced with pressure. He needs to learn to trust his protection and understand when to throw the ball away to last in the NFL.
I wouldn't consider Eason an inaccurate quarterback by any means, but he has to do a better job being more consistent in his mechanics. He struggles to follow though on a lot of his throws, and the result is easy misses in dangerous areas of the field.
A starting caliber quarterback in the NFL just can't miss these types of lay-ups. I am far more confident in this issue being correctable but this is something that we see kill a lot of big armed, raw quarterback prospects in the league.
Reason For Hope
While Eason came into the league as raw player, he seems to be doing everything right with his training. While he was essentially redshirted for all of last season with the Colts, he drew praise from the coaching staff throughout the year for his play in practice.
Eason has also been active in these past two offseasons, training with famed quarterback trainer Adam Dedeaux and 3DQB. He also worked with Jake Heaps recently, who is the Head Coach of the Russell Wilson Quarterback Academy.
Eason may still have a ways to go on the field, but there is no doubt he has been putting in the work off the field and in the offseason.
The hope for the Colts is that the Carson Wentz injury isn't anything major and he is able to return prior to week one. The best-case scenario is that Eason gets the entire preseason of development while Wentz is ready to go for the entire season.
In the case that Wentz isn't ready to start the regular season though, I'd like to see the Colts roll with Eason. It's a tough stretch to start the year, but this is the perfect time to see what you have in the young signal caller.
I am still wary of Eason and if he can be successful in the NFL, but there is no doubt that he is a talented player. If Wentz is out for an extended period of time, he needs to be the next man up for the team.
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.