The NFL Combine kicks off today in Indianapolis and it’s safe to say that there’s plenty of excitement. Over the next few days, we’ll be pointing out players to keep an eye on at each position who may interest the Eagles. It’s only right that we start off with the most important position on the team.
Josh McCown isn’t likely to return as a backup QB and Nate Sudfeld is a pending free agent. The Eagles placed a tender on Sudfeld one year ago, but after McCown was signed in a pinch due to an injury to the former Redskins QB, he never relinquished the position, which has to raise some alarm bells.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie wants to get back to drafting a quarterback on a yearly basis and after Clayton Thorson didn’t work out, this may be the second year in a row we see a signal-caller taken.
Jacob Eason, Washington
Doug Pederson loves size in his quarterbacks and Eason enters the Combine standing at 6’6, 231 lbs. Eason also has the arm-talent to boot, showcasing an ability to sling it deep and make all the throws the Huskies needed him to. He started every game for Washington last year, completing 64.2% of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 TD’s and 8 picks.
His poise in the pocket needs work, especially when being pressured, but who better to learn from than Carson Wentz in that regard? Eason has the opposite problem of many in that he’s a gunslinger through-and-through, but struggles to make the shorter and simpler throws consistently, often missing open targets on comebacks and curls. The Eagles would be the perfect fit for a developmental arm like this who could sneak onto draft boards in day 3.
Another 6’6 monster, Luton’s similarities to Eason end there. The intriguing thing here is that he comes from a pro-style background that is bound to raise eyebrows in Philadelphia. However, unlike Eason, it’s the deep-ball that needs some developing at the next level. However, a good combine here may just throw the Cat among the Pigeons.
Some reports cite that Luton would struggle to get through his progression, leaning on Isaiah Hodgins a little too often and that’s something that would need to be coached up at the next level. But he may actually be the better fit out of the gate for the Eagles given his background in pro-style offenses and success checking the ball down. He doesn’t take unnecessary risks (reflected by the 28 TD to 3 INT ratio in 2019) and that kind of awareness/conservatism is a handy card to have in your back pocket in an emergency scenario. The ceiling is lower, but the floor may be higher.
The Eagles have gotten up close and personal with a couple of quarterback prospects already this offseason thanks to the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game. Steven Montez and James Morgan both received combine invites and will have a second shot at impressing the Eagles.
He has the bigger frame that Pederson covets (6’5, 230 lbs) and completed 63% of his passes last year.
Montez is definitely a project. He has the requisite arm strength, but accuracy is sporadic and mechanically there’s a lot to do in terms of progressing through reads and standing tall. His footwork is beyond shaky and he struggles to align himself with the target.
But interestingly, Nate Sudfeld had similar concerns coming out of college and that didn’t end too badly…
At 6’4, 213 lbs, he (shockingly) also has a frame that Pederson covets, and completed 61.5% of his passes with 40 touchdowns and 12 picks during his two-year stint with FIU.
Morgan can make all the throws and has a cannon for an arm and has really impressive pocket navigation. He really is the perfect prototype for a budget developmental arm and should shine down in Florida this weekend.
Stanley has all the physical tools you could want (6’4, 235 lbs), but it’s the mental side of the game that needs work. There’s a hesitation in his game that sees him hold the ball for too long and it stripped Iowa of sustaining successful offensive drives last year.
There’s no doubting that he can make the throws. Stanley has thrown some bombs in his career and reminds me of Sam Bradford in terms of throwing motion. It just looks so clean and easy. But the one thing Bradford could do was check it down, read defenses quickly and make a decision. Stanley has a habit of waiting…and waiting…and waiting some more until there’s an open window, reluctant to challenge tighter coverages.
He doesn’t turn the ball over much and his accuracy is impressive, but there might be too much of a mental emphasis on that, which leads to him being a statue in the pocket and being bullied by opposing pass-rushes.
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