Quarterback, Washington Huskies
40 time: 4.89
The 2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year looked like the future at Georgia as a true freshman, when he started 12 games and passed for 2,430 yards for first-year coach Kirby Smart. But when he suffered a knee injury in the 2017 opener, he never got his job back, as then-true freshman Jake Fromm won his first start — at Notre Dame — and directed the Bulldogs to the national title game. Eason transferred to back to his home state, redshirting at Washington in 2018 per NCAA rules before he could take over in 2019 for graduated Jake Browning. He flashed his powerful arm for the Huskies while starting all 13 games, finishing with 3,132 passing yards, the fourth-best mark in school history, and 23 touchdown passes. Overall, though, it was a disappointing 8-5 season for Washington, which didn’t have the receiving corps that could take fuller advantage of Eason’s downfield ability.
Eason showed off his arm talent at the NFL Scouting Combine and posted a decent 40-yard dash time given concerns about his mobility.
Eason is a prototypical drop-back passer who combines elite size, arm strength and production in two very different schemes for different teams (Georgia, Washington), each of which faced quality competition. Ideal frame for the position with the requisite height to see over his blockers, as well as the body armor with broad shoulders and excellent weight distribution. May have had the strongest arm in the entire country and certainly the best of the quarterbacks available in the 2020 NFL Draft. Footballs leave his hand like they are shot out of a bazooka, whistling through tight windows and easily cutting through adverse weather conditions. Can make throws of 65-plus yards while flat-footed, truly stretching the field with his deep-ball prowess. Asked to make pro-style reads out of Washington and Georgia’s scheme, showing the ability to recognize and manipulate defenses with his eyes and feet, as well as his arm. Efficient set-up and delivery with a relatively compact release, given his size.
Eason played in a total of 29 college games, including 26 starts over his career, and his inexperience shows too often. Too reliant on his arm at this time, making ill-advised passes late into coverage that can result in easy interceptions for the defense, (Utah and Oregon State). Needs to learn to take something off his fastball, unnecessarily drilling receivers with laser passes and contributing to a season-long issue with Husky pass-catchers dropping catchable throws. Scouts at the Senior Bowl shared concerns about his commitment and leadership dating back to high school. Accelerates smoothly once he opens up his gait but, like a lot of long-legged passers, Eason often lacks the nimbleness to run out of trouble and is not a true scramble threat. Does not come with the rah-rah leadership style some want at the quarterback position. Suffered a sprained knee in the 2017 season opener at Georgia (vs. Appalachian State) and was never able to wrestle back the starting role from Fromm.
Joe Flacco, Denver Broncos — Blessed with similar size, arms, even-keel personalities and willingness to transfer elsewhere to get onto the playing field, Eason and Flacco are virtual twins. It remains to be seen if Eason will go on to enjoy the same kind of success that Flacco — the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII — has had in the NFL, but expect a team to roll the dice on him in the first round in the hopes than he can.
Projection: First-second round