By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots are going to draft a quarterback this year. They’re the Patriots, yes, which means they’re often impossible to read. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And you can see this smoke from 100 miles away. In fact, the entire league ‘knows’ they’re going to draft a quarterback, and some even have the Patriots spending a ‘premium’ pick on one.
The names, by now, have been established: Rumors have said that the Patriots ‘love’ Justin Herbert, they’ve done their homework on Jordan Love, and they’d be interested in Tua Tagovailoa should he plummet down the draft board.
But you can add another name to the list, as ESPN analyst Matt Bowen has highlighted Washington’s Jacob Eason as the best fit for the Patriots among this year’s draft class. Now, Bowen isn’t exactly your Draft Night Adam Schefter, but it’s worth mentioning that Bowen’s last exercise here highlighted Jarrett Stidham as the Patriots’ best fit. And sure enough, the Patriots took Stidham with a fourth-round pick last year, at No. 133 overall, so Bowen’s on a bit of a heater.
A 6-foot-6 quarterback with a cannon arm, Eason threw for 3,132 yards, with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions along with a 64.2 completion percentage, in 13 games for the Huskies. It is certainly worth noting that this was Eason’s first starting gig in three years, with his last run coming with a 13-game run with Georgia in 2016. The arm is easily Eason’s best weapon, too, with 28 completions and nine touchdowns on passes of more than 20 yards in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.
But despite the strong arm and size that makes him seem like a dream talent, Eason certainly has his weaknesses, particularly when it comes to handling pressure, and he’s also considered one of the slowest quarterbacks in this year’s class.
“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,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote. “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.”
(For an even deeper dive on Eason’s game, NESN’s Doug Kyed had an awesome dive on the 22-year-old’s ceiling.)
Selecting Eason may involve a trade-up for the Patriots, who do not possess a second-round pick and have three picks at the end of the third round, which may complicate any plans to make Bowen look like a genius yet again.