The Indianapolis Colts made the somewhat surprising decision to waive 2020 fourth-round pick, Jacob Eason, on Tuesday in a move that corresponded with the team’s 2021 sixth-round pick, Sam Ehlingher, returning from injured reserve.
Perhaps Eason’s descent down the depth chart shouldn’t make this move a complete shock. He was passed by Brett Hundley this year as the No. 2 behind Carson Wentz and hasn’t developed at the pace Indianapolis has wanted to see. Eason, who’s subject to waivers, is a candidate—a strong candidate—to return to the team’s practice squad, but he has a big enough arm to warrant attention from quarterback-needy teams.
One of those teams is the Detroit Lions, who are a few days removed from coach Dan Campbell openly criticizing Jared Goff’s play and demanding more from the 2016 first-overall pick.
“I feel like (Goff) needs to step up more than he has,” Campbell said. “And, I think he needs to help us, just like everybody else. I think he is gonna need to put a little weight on his shoulders here, and it’s time to step up and make some throws and do some things.”
Goff has been dinking and dunking his way through the 2021 season and at 0-6, the Lions remain one of the top candidates to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The problem, however, is there may not be a player with a high enough grade to justify using a top-five pick on, which is likely where Detroit will be picking.
Enter Eason, who at just 23 years old could offer an arm with upside on the roster. Remember, Eason was at one time considered among the top quarterback prospects in college football whose arm strength was ranked with the strongest to enter the NFL in several seasons. He’s a toolsy prospect who was described by The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs as a guy who’d be a good fit in an aggressive passing game.
“Eason, despite getting run as a starter at both Georgia and Washington, does still needs to find more confidence in his progressions to work more quickly through his reads, otherwise he will be prone to taking a lot of unnecessary pressure,” Crabbs wrote. “Eason has a cannon for an arm and projects best into an aggressive vertical passing offense to take advantage of his arm talent to the deeper levels of the field.”
Sounds like Eason would be a nice change of pace from Goff, who will never—ever—be confused as an aggressive quarterback.
Why not swing on Eason if you’re the Lions? The quarterbacks behind Goff are David Blough and Tim Boyle (IR), and with all due respect to both of them, neither is a guy with much upside in the short or long term.
Maybe Eason is another example of a quarterback who only has the traits. Playing the position requires more than a big arm; there are plenty of strong-armed passers who washed out of the league after a few seasons. But for a Lions team that’s going nowhere fast, taking a flyer on a traitsy passer who can sling it in ways your current starter cannot is at least logical, if nothing else.
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