However, it’s going to take some time for him to learn the Colts playbook, the system, and process the right reads and checkdowns both pre-snap and passing in the pocket (via Colts.com’s Andrew Walker):
“Well, definitely he has the physical tools — a starting point,” Brady said. “Obviously, the big arm, the size. So, yes, definitely he has that. The No. 1 thing going from college to the pros is just how much information he’s able to just take in, because our playbook is much bigger than what he had in Washington in college. And so digesting our offense, our system, and then just the detail of each play, because we do more checks — if we’re not getting the right look, we’ll get us to this play; if they’re bringing pressure here, get us to this play.”
“And so he’s learning all of that, so not only learning it, now he’s gotta process it,” added Brady. “And we can’t see that yet until he gets on the field, so it’s that, ‘Can he take what he’s learning in the classroom, recognize it when he steps out the huddle, and then process it and make the change in the matter of time before the play clock hits?’ How quickly is that process and speed, and then how quickly is it processing post-snap when he’s in the pocket taking his drop? So there’s a lot of just time that it’s gonna take him, but he’s doing a great job with what he’s been asked to do now; he’s learning and asking questions and picking it up.”
The Colts’ 4th round pick out of Washington completed 260 of 405 throws (64.2%) for 3,132 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions during 13 starts as a junior in 2019.
At 6’6”, 231 pounds, Eason is the prototypical big bodied quarterback, who is also blessed with an absolute cannon of an arm—as he can make all of the throws with serious zip:
The lingering questions with Eason are whether he’s ‘too laid back’—although being surrounded with high energy veteran mentors such as Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett in the Colts quarterback room will certainly help in that regard—as well as in his ability to handle overall pressure in the pocket by learning from both battle-tested NFL starters.
By watching how Rivers and Brissett study in the film room, how they go about the weight room, and how they handle practice reps, Eason has a great opportunity to learn as a rookie—especially since Rivers has a similar ‘gunslinger’s mentality’ to him in overall playing style.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has already eliminated any immediate expectations on Eason—saying that he shouldn’t be labeled the franchise’s ‘next messiah’ at quarterback:
“Well, I’ve kind of pumped the breaks on the (future) starting (job talk), everyone’s bringing up that narrative, but just from the plain fact that he’s got work to do,” Ballard said on ‘The Herd’ with host Colin Cowherd following the NFL Draft in late April. “He’s really only been a one year starter in college, and he’s got a lot of work to do, and Jacob knows that.”
“But we feel good about the situation we’re putting him into. We feel good about putting him behind Philip and Jacoby. Letting him compete and get better and grow—with Frank and his leadership and his ability to coach quarterbacks. So we think Jacob has a lot of talent, but he’s got a ways to go, and he knows that he’s got a lot of work to put in.”
That means that as a rookie, Eason can develop at his own pace in the pocket—and get rid of any bad habits regarding handling pressure—something that Colts head coach Frank Reich and Brady should be able to readily help him with—as former professional football quarterbacks themselves.
To his credit, Brady previously complimented the rookie’s off-the-field work in early June:
“Overall, he’s been great,” Brady said via Colts.com’s Andrew Walker. “You know, I’ve been on Zoom with him — a lot of calls spending time with him installing the offense with him — and he’s done a great job. I mean, he’s worked hard, he’s asked a lot of questions, and he’s picking up the offense.”
PFF previously listed Eason as one of its ‘Day 3 Picks who landed in favorable situations’ and from what we’ve already seen and heard, that is indeed true with the Colts.
The ball is firmly in Eason’s court, it’s just a matter of whether he’s willing to put in the time, energy, effort, and hard work to get better and grow—because he has a great opportunity in Indianapolis—surrounded by a strong support system to aid his future development.
By all indications so far, he’s planning on taking full advantage of it—and that means that ‘everything else’ could eventually align with the rookie’s already strong physical tools.