Indianapolis Colts Take Chance on Washington QB Jacob Eason

Projected as high as the second round, Eason falls to the fourth before the Indianapolis Colts decide the strong-armed passer with questionable intangibles was worth the risk with the 122nd overall selection.
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INDIANAPOLIS — Just when it appears as if the Indianapolis Colts would put off adding a quarterback for the future to 2021, they select Washington’s Jacob Eason in Saturday’s fourth round of the NFL draft.

Projected as high as a second-round selection in mock drafts, Eason fell far. It's not because of his appealing physical attributes as a strong-armed, 6-6 and 231-pound passer, but intangibles such as “work ethic and accountability.” Those were ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen’s words after the 122nd overall choice.

So why would the Colts give Eason a shot? They had to be surprised he was still there in the fourth round. So the possible long-term reward outweighs the risk.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard had reiterated before the draft that he wouldn't force a pick on the quarterback position, that the most important position demanded the right fit. Whether Eason can be that fit depends on him.

The Colts have 38-year-old Philip Rivers making $25 million in a one-year deal to prove he still has enough to play beyond 2020. Backup Jacoby Brissett, the inconsistent 2019 starter, is making $21.4 million so he’s not going anywhere. That means Eason has one job only next season, and that’s to learn how to be a professional football player.

Eason didn’t have an extensive college career, which is to reiterate he’s still learning the position. He basically played two seasons in college, the first at Georgia before getting hurt and losing his job to Jake Fromm, who is still on the board. His one season at Washington produced 3,132 passing yards, 64.2 pass completion percentage, 23 TDs with eight interceptions.

Here’s an Eason critique on NFL.com after the combine:

“His elite size and arm talent are reminiscent of Carson Palmer, but issues with pocket poise and getting through progressions cleanly are more reminiscent of Brock Osweiler. Eason is fun to watch when he's ripping throws around the field and taking deep play-action shots, but a lack of mobility inside and outside the pocket is troubling, considering his ineffectiveness when pressured. He's relatively inexperienced and should continue to develop from the pocket, but poise is hard to fix, and handling exotic blitz packages is not a given. He's a pro-style, play-action-based quarterback with average starter potential and an average backup floor.”

No doubt Eason’s wait had to be frustrating. Welcome to the NFL. His initiation was one of humility, to say the least.

SI’s HuskyMaven wrote about how Eason was still available after Friday’s second and third rounds.