Indianapolis Colts fans may not have expected much when the team used a fourth-round pick on Washington quarterback Jacob Eason last year. Even if Philip Rivers didn’t play beyond the 2020 season, the team would almost certainly have opened the 2021 campaign with either a veteran behind center or an extremely talented rookie.
Well, being wrong is part of what makes sports so fun. Here’s everything that football fans need to know about Eason, a 6-foot-6 quarterback who could have an opportunity to see significant snaps for the Colts in 2021.
Eason has played his way up the Colts’ depth chart
Injuries and the coronavirus pandemic have hit the Colts’ quarterback room in full force throughout the 2021 preseason. Former Philadelphia Eagles starter Carson Wentz, who arrived in Indianapolis after an offseason trade, underwent foot surgery early in training camp.
That left Eason and Sam Ehlinger, a sixth-round rookie from Texas, taking the preseason quarterback snaps. Eason completed 66.1% of his passes for 389 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions in three games and two starts. Ehlinger threw for 288 yards in three games and also ran for 55 yards.
However, Ehlinger suffered a knee sprain and will miss at least the season’s first month. If Wentz is not ready to go in Week 1, Eason would make his NFL debut against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
His father, Tony, played college football at Notre Dame
Eason has football in his genes. His father, Tony, played receiver at Notre Dame in the 1980s. He hauled in 11 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown in 1985.
The key point there is the elder Eason played receiver. He’s not to be confused with a different Tony Eason, one who played quarterback at Illinois and later led the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl appearance.
247Sports considered him a 5-star recruit in high school
The star system isn’t for everyone, and we get that. However, the odds of a 5-star prospect being selected in the NFL are much higher than someone who earned only three stars.
247Sports considered Eason the country’s fifth-best high school prospect in the class of 2016 and the second-best pro-style quarterback. Only 26 players, including Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders and San Francisco 49ers pass-rusher Nick Bosa, earned the elusive 5-star rating that year.
Eason committed to Georgia two years before he enrolled
Eason officially pledged to Georgia on July 19, 2014, right before the start of his junior season. Despite receiving offers from the likes of Florida and Miami, he stuck with his initial choice and played there until he transferred to Washington following the 2017 season.
Think about July 2014 for a second. LeBron James had rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier that month. When NFL training camps opened that month, San Francisco 49ers fans still thought Colin Kaepernick would lead the team to a Super Bowl victory.
He ended his high school baseball career in style
In addition to starring on the gridiron, Eason played baseball at Lake Stevens High School in Washington. According to MaxPreps, he played first base on the Vikings’ varsity team as a junior in spring 2015.
In pure Hollywood fashion, he hit a home run in his final high school at-bat. Although actually, the Hollywood portion of this story might involve whatever he’s going to do in the NFL.
He was the sixth quarterback selected in the 2020 NFL Draft
Eason completed 59.8% of his passes for 5,590 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions over 29 games in three seasons as a college quarterback. After sitting out the 2018 season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules, he led the Washington Huskies to an 8-5 record and a Las Vegas Bowl victory over Boise State in 2019.
The Colts selected Eason 122nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. You’re likely familiar with the five quarterbacks who went before him:
- The Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick.
- Four picks later, the Miami Dolphins added Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa. Enough said on that front.
- The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Oregon standout Justin Herbert sixth overall. Despite predraft concerns about his accuracy, he dominated in his first 15 starts and won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
- Late in the first round, the Green Bay Packers infamously traded up and selected Utah State’s Jordan Love 26th overall. Aaron Rodgers has left the chat.
- The Philadelphia Eagles surprised many by drafting Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts 53rd overall. The Heisman Trophy finalist took over for Wentz late in the season and is entering this campaign as the starter.
And then there’s Eason. In the hours before the 2020 NFL Draft began, who would have guessed he had a better chance at starting a game before Love?