Round 5, Pick 167: Clayton Thorson, Quarterback, Northwestern
Well, it’s not the quarterback many wanted. That man, Easton Stick, was drafted just one pick before the Eagles could get their mitts on him after they traded back a few spots with the Patriots. Instead, the Eagles draft Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson.
It’s easy to look at his slightly worrying TD/INT ratio in 2018 and judge too early, but it’s likely the composure and dynamic play that interested the Eagles.
Thorson broke records for games started, touchdowns, yards and completions during his time with Northwestern, winning three bowl-games and recovering from a knee injury to help win the team win the Big Ten West last year.
At 6’4, 222 lbs, he has the size Pederson would want in his quarterback, but the inconsistency on the field is likely what’s stopped him from soaring up draft boards in a relatively weakened class. He’s tremendous on shorter, intermediate routes, delivering a zippy bullet pass and scanning through his first few reads cleanly. It’s when he’s asked to let plays develop where the waters get murky.
His deep ball accuracy was never something to write home about, hence why he only averaged 6.8 yards per pass, but this is a quarterback in the mold of a game-manager who does have some mobility outside the pocket.
The Eagles wanted to get back to the days of drafting quarterbacks regularly and Thorson at least ticks all the measurable boxes. The rest, will be down to the Eagles coaching staff to nurture to see if they can work the wonders with him that they have with Nate Sudfeld.