Jacob Eason

Latest On Seahawks’ QB Situation

Seattle made headlines in early March when they agreed to trade Russell Wilson to the Broncos in exchange for multiple draft picks, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and tight end Noah Fant. After losing their starter of the last ten years, the Seahawks are going through the motions now of determining who will be taking snaps from under center when the season starts this fall. 

Through Phase II of their offseason program, returning Seahawk Geno Smith has been taking the first snaps in drills, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Breer still expects Lock to emerge as the starter, in time, once he’s had the opportunity to make up ground as a newcomer to Seattle’s system.

The 31-year-old Smith returned to starting duties this past season for the first time since 2017 and for the first time in multiple games in a season since his sophomore year with the Jets all the way back in 2014. Smith signed with Seattle in 2019, spending two years as Wilson’s backup while only making an appearance in one game. Last season, though, saw Smith relieve Wilson when the latter suffered a finger injury in a Week 5 loss to the Rams.

Smith finished the game for Wilson and, when Wilson was put on injured reserve, Smith started the next three games for the Seahawks. Smith performed admirably in Wilson’s stead, completing 68.4% of his passes for 702 yards while tossing 5 touchdowns to 1 interception. He also added 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground in 9 carries. Even though the team went 1-2 with Smith as a starter, he kept the Seahawks competitive, not only proving that he still has some gas in the tank but showing some of the best football of his career to date.

Lock was a second-round pick for the Broncos back in 2019, a backup option to then-newly acquired starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Lock suffered a preseason thumb injury that landed him on injured reserve, returning to practice in mid-November. Flacco suffered a neck injury that would require surgery and after three games of Brandon Allen, Denver turned to their rookie coming off injured reserve.

Lock took the NFL-world by storm, winning four of the Broncos last five games of the season. In that stretch Lock completed 64.1% of his passes for 1,020 yards, throwing 7 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. Lock took on full-time starting duties in his sophomore season. His completion percentage dropped to 57.34% on the year and his interceptions caught up to his touchdowns as his touchdown-interception ratio read 16-15. In his 13 starts, the Bronco went just 4-9. Last season saw Lock lose the quarterback competition to Teddy Bridgewater. Lock appeared in injury relief in two games before a concussion to Bridgewater in Week 14 handed Lock the keys to the offense for the rest of the season. The Broncos would lose all three of Lock’s starts, in which he would show more of the same from his full season as a starter.

Breer sees Lock emerging as the starting quarterback because of reports from 2019 that general manager John Schneider “really liked Lock coming out” of college, adding that the inclusion of Lock in the trade deal was similar to Jared Goff‘s inclusion in the Matthew Stafford-trade Detroit made last year. Breer also points out that Lock’s offensive coordinator during the best stretch of his young career during that rookie season was Rich Scangarello, who ran a very similar offense to Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Behind Smith and Lock is the young Jacob Eason who failed to impress in very limited action with the Colts last year. The job will fall on the shoulders of either Smith or Lock, with Seahawks-fans likely hoping that Lock, the younger of the two, will establish himself as their future at the position.

Seahawks Claim QB Jacob Eason

Jacob Eason has found his next job. After getting waived yesterday by the Colts, the quarterback has been claimed by the Seahawks, reports ESPN’s Brady Henderson (via Twitter).

The Seahawks have been sniffing around for some reinforcement at quarterback following Russell Wilson‘s placement on IR. Geno Smith will continue to sit atop the depth chart, and Eason will temporarily serve as his backup. Seattle is also rostering Jake Luton and Danny Etling on their practice squad.

Eason found himself on the outside looking in during his time in Indy. He was already the third-stringer QB behind Carson Wentz and Brett Hundley, and the team decided to move on from the 2020 fourth-round pick after activating 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger from IR.

Eason had a breakout college campaign in 2019, completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions after transferring from Georgia to Washington. He made his NFL debut in Week 2, completing two of his five pass attempts for 25. He also tossed an interception.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/19/21

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Latest On Colts’ Quarterback Situation

7:45pm: As Holder reports, Wentz was at practice today with no protection on his foot and no obvious limp. Reich called Wentz’s outlook “very encouraging,” and regardless of how the Ehlinger/Eason battle plays out, it doesn’t sound like either young passer will be holding the reins too long.

12:32pm: The Colts have thus far opted against acquiring a veteran to run their offense while Carson Wentz rehabs, and the team will begin giving rookie Sam Ehlinger a longer look to fill the post.

Ehlinger has worked his way into the mix here, with Frank Reich indicating Tuesday (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the sixth-round pick has looked good enough in practice to split first-team reps with Jacob Eason. Eason will start the Colts’ first preseason game, but Reich adds (via ESPN.com’s Mike Wells, on Twitter) the second-year QB and Ehlinger will split starter reps in the team’s joint practices against the Panthers on Thursday and Friday.

While Ehlinger has outplayed Eason during Colts camp, this does mark a bit of a change from the team’s view of its current quarterback situation. Reich said last week Eason would remain in the driver’s seat for the role, despite Ehlinger impressing early. Now, the two appear to be in a true competition.

A four-year starter at Texas, Ehlinger was the 10th quarterback off the board this year. The No. 218 overall pick does bring considerably more game work than Eason, who transferred from Georgia to Washington but declared for the draft after one season as the Huskies’ starter. Ehlinger threw 1,476 passes with the Longhorns. Eason, Georgia’s primary starter in 2016, attempted 782 in college. The latter, however, was viewed slightly better through an NFL lens and became a 2020 fourth-round pick. Eason has yet to take a snap in a game, with the COVID-19 pandemic nixing last year’s preseason slate and Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett ahead of him on Indy’s 2020 depth chart.

This year’s Colts QB hierarchy may involve Wentz in the not-too-distant future. Initially given a vague five- to 12-week timetable to recover from foot surgery, Wentz will be re-evaluated in two weeks, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, who adds the Colts are expecting him to return on the front end of this timetable (video link). As of now, the team envisions its preferred starter to be back early in the season.

The Colts could stash Wentz on IR to start the year, carrying him onto their 53-man roster and parking him on the injured list for at least three weeks. However, Wentz hitting the front end of his rehab timetable would likely induce the Colts to keep him on their active roster and play this week-to-week.

Jacob Eason Remains Atop Colts’ QB Depth Chart

For now, the Colts are not planning to trade for a quarterback to fill in for the injured Carson Wentz. Similarly, the club is not planning to shake up its QB depth chart, currently topped by 2020 fourth-rounder Jacob Eason.

According to Stephen Holder of The Athletic, sixth-round rookie Sam Ehlinger has performed better than Eason in training camp, prompting reporters to ask head coach Frank Reich if he might consider elevating Ehlinger to QB1 status.

Fair question, because [Ehlinger] has looked good,” Reich said. “But, right now, our plan is to put Jacob in the driver’s seat. Sam is getting a lot of reps. They’ll keep competing. This is a competition. … Jacob is making good progress as well.”

Holder concedes that Eason has demonstrated improvement, but he says Ehlinger has generally looked like the stronger passer, especially when it comes to throwing with anticipation. And while Eason has the arm strength and size that Ehlinger lacks, Ehlinger’s athleticism is superior to that of his counterpart (which might prove critical given that the Colts’ O-line is presently without several starters).

Indianapolis’ preseason opener is set for August 15, and it sounds as if Eason will keep working with the first-team offense up to and through that game. But if Ehlinger continues to play better, Reich could be forced to make a switch.

This is a prime opportunity for both young passers. The Colts, who went into the summer with championship aspirations, hope one of Eason or Ehlinger can at least keep the club afloat until Wentz returns.

Indianapolis is also rostering Brett Hundley, but the former Packers draftee is not a candidate to be Wentz’s replacement.

Colts Leaning Against Signing Backup QB?

While Jacoby Brissett was asked to start in 2017 and 2019, he gave the Colts a high-end backup quarterback during their most recent two playoff seasons. But Brissett’s four-year Indianapolis tenure is done; he is now in Miami.

Currently stationed as QB2 options for the Colts: 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason and sixth-round rookie Sam Ehlinger. Former Prairie View A&M passer Jalen Morton is also on the roster. Frank Reich said Eason, after his developmental rookie year, is currently penciled in as the Colts’ backup. That appears to be the team’s goal for the season.

Chris Ballard indicated discussions of backstopping Wentz with a more experienced passer have taken place. But the Colts want to go with one of their young QBs in this role.

That’s a great question. It’s one we’ve definitely thought about,” Ballard said of adding a veteran backup, via Fox 59’s Mike Chappell. “Let’s get through the preseason. Let’s see where we are. We want one of these young guys to be the guy. We think they can. We’ll keep working through that.”

Carson Wentz has run into a few notable injury issues during his career. After missing time during his senior season at North Dakota State, Wentz tore multiple knee ligaments to end his 2017 MVP bid. A back injury then ended Wentz’s 2018 season. He suffered a concussion in the Eagles’ 2019 wild-card loss to the Seahawks. It would certainly make sense for the Colts to add here, but for now, Eason — Georgia’s 2016 starter and Washington’s QB1 in 2019 — is the guy.

The free agent market houses a few notable names. Journeyman Brian Hoyer, whom the Colts used as Brissett’s backup in 2019, is available. So are Robert Griffin IIIBrett Hundley and Sean Mannion, multiyear backups in Baltimore, Arizona and Minnesota, respectively. Nick Mullens played more than each during his backup stay in San Francisco, but he is recovering from elbow surgery.

Colts Notes: Tevi, Hines, Eason

One of the biggest winners of this year’s draft was Colts LT Sam Tevi. Signed to a modest one-year pact in March, Tevi has been atop Indy’s left tackle depth chart in the wake of Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement, but it was widely expected that the team would draft a potential Castonzo replacement.

Even though Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw was available for the Colts with the No. 21 overall pick, GM Chris Ballard elected to further bolster his defense by selecting Michigan DE Kwity Paye. And while this year’s draft was said to be deep in tackle talent, Ballard did not use a Day 2 or Day 3 choice on a tackle either.

It doesn’t sound like Colts brass was particularly high on the top-shelf LT prospects. “It just didn’t match up,” Ballard said (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of The Athletic). “How many true left tackles were in the draft? We’ll see. … If you’re gonna draft a guy that high, and you’re drafting him to be a left tackle, you’d like to know that he’s going to be that his whole career.”

Now for more out of Indianapolis, starting with additional notes on the team’s LT situation:

  • Even though the Colts valued Paye and second-round choice Dayo Odeyingbo over any LTs that were available at the time, owner Jim Irsay did concede that there were several tackles in the fourth and fifth rounds that they would have drafted but missed out on (Twitter links via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Irsay suggested that the team is comfortable with Tevi as the starting LT, though he left the door open for another acquisition. “We feel that Tevi can do a solid job there next to that line that he is joining,” he said. “There are other options that can come down the line” (Twitter link via Holder).
  • Irsay has previously indicated that the team would prefer to keep Quenton Nelson at left guard instead of moving him to LT, and perhaps one of the “options that can come down the line” that he referred to is former Chiefs LT Eric Fisher, who is still on the market.
  • We recently heard that the Colts are hoping to extend LB Darius Leonard and OT Braden Smith, and you can add RB Nyheim Hines to that mix. As Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes, Irsay said he wants his team to explore a re-up with the NC State product, who is eligible for free agency next year. Hines is a terrific receiver out of the backfield and has developed into a quality punt returner, but the team does have second-year pro Jonathan Taylor as its RB1, and Marlon Mack is back in the fold as well. As Irsay observed, “it just depends on what the numbers are.”
  • The Colts just drafted Texas signal-caller Sam Ehlinger, adding him to a quarterback room that also includes 2020 UDFA Jalen Morton and 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. All three players will be vying to serve as Carson Wentz‘s top backup, though head coach Frank Reich said Eason will be penciled in as the QB2 for now (Twitter link via Erickson). Reich was clear that Morton and Ehlinger will get a fair shake, however.

Colts Notes: QBs, Hilton, Pascal, Houston

The Colts are hunting for a quarterback following the retirement of Philip Rivers, but at least one individual believes the replacement is already on the roster. Jacob Eason recently told Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star that it’s “realistic as soon as possible” for him to compete for the Colts starting quarterback gig.

“I got a lot of work ahead of me, a lot of areas to improve and grow, but if the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to put my best foot forward and give you the best shot I can,” Eason said.

Following a standout career at Washington, Eason was a fourth-round pick by the Colts in this past year’s draft. While the rookie didn’t see the field during his first NFL season, he was able to garner the praise of GM Chris Ballard and former quarterbacks coach (and current offensive coordinator) Marcus Brady.

“I didn’t have that many opportunities to go out there and prove myself and show what I can do to these coaches and this team,” Eason said. “But there were moments in training camp where I was given the opportunity to go play and do my thing, and I did that.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of Indy…

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Ballard kept the door open on retaining backup QB Jacoby Brissett. “We like Jacoby,’’ Ballard said (via Mike Chappell of Fox59.com). “We’ve got to let that work out.’’ The 28-year-old has alternated between being a starting QB and backup QB during his four seasons with Indianapolis. Following a 2019 campaign that saw Brissett complete 60.9-percent of his passes while tossing 18 touchdowns in 15 starts, the quarterback was limited to only 48 offensive snaps in 2020. The former third-round is set to hit free agency this offseason.
  • The Colts have interest in retaining a pair of free agent wideouts. Ballard said he believes veteran T.Y. Hilton can still play a significant role, and he noted the market will dictate whether the receiver returns to Indianapolis (via Kevin Bowen of 1075 The Fan on Twitter). Hilton finished the 2020 season having hauled in 56 receptions for 762 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Ballard hinted that the organization will be bringing back restricted free agent receiver Zach Pascal, presumably via a tender (via Bowen). Pascal had a career year for the Colts, surpassing or tying career highs in receptions (44), receiving yards (629), and touchdowns (five).
  • Ballard also attributed Justin Houston‘s future in Indianapolis to the “market,” per Bowen on Twitter. Following an eight-year stint with the Chiefs, Houston joined the Colts on a two-year, $24MM deal prior to the 2019 season. In two seasons with the Colts, the 32-year-old has collected 69 tackles and 19 sacks in 32 starts.

Colts Sign Three Draft Picks

The Colts have agreed to terms with three more draft picks, according to a team announcement. RB Jonathan Taylor (pick no. 41), QB Jacob Eason (no. 122), and LB Jordan Glasgow (no. 213) are all in the fold.

Indianapolis was left without a first-round pick due to the team’s trade for DeForest Buckner earlier this offseason. But the Colts had two second-round choices, and they used one of them on Taylor, a talented back out of Wisconsin (they actually traded up three spots to nab him). One of the concerns surrounding Taylor is his heavy usage in college, as he averaged 309 carries over his three seasons with the Badgers, but he certainly made the most out of those carries. He piled up 6,174 rushing yards on a healthy 6.7 yards-per-tote, and he became more of a factor in the passing game in 2019, contributing 26 catches for 252 yards and five receiving scores.

The Colts already had plenty of young talent in the backfield, with Taylor joining Marlon MackJordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines. Mack rushed for nearly 1,100 yards last season as the team’s RB1, but he is entering his contract year, and after seeing Indianapolis invest heavily in RBs in the draft over the past two seasons, he may be playing for a free agent deal elsewhere.

Eason, meanwhile, is an intriguing QB prospect who could be a starting option for the Colts as soon as 2021. Of course, Indy brought in Philip Rivers on a one-year pact for 2020, but current QB2 Jacoby Brissett is also on the last year of his current deal, so Eason will have the opportunity to learn from both players this season and perhaps take the reins next year. In 2019, the strong-armed Washington product completed 64.2% of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

Glasgow, the Colts’ final selection in the draft, will attempt to crack the team’s LB rotation and special teams unit. The DB-turned-linebacker compiled 89 tackles and five sacks in his final season at Michigan.

Colts Draft QB Jacob Eason At No. 122

The Colts have been connected to a number of quarterback prospects, and they’ve apparently landed on their guy. Indy has selected Washington quarterback Jacob Eason with the No. 122 pick.

GM Chris Ballard previously said that the organization would only take a quarterback if it was the right fit, and they’ve even touted Jacoby Brissett as a potential successor to Philip Rivers. Still, the organization was rumored to be interested in a number of signal-callers throughout the draft process. While Indy was mentioned as a potential suitor for Jordan Love, there were always rumblings that Eason was actually their guy.

Eason had a standout season during his lone year at Washington. The six-foot-six quarterback finished the campaign having completed 64.2-percent of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. While scouts have touted his size and arm strength, he’s been criticized for his decision-making and consistency.

Still, Indy may be the best possible landing spot for Eason. The rookie will have a chance to work under Rivers, and he could eventually have the inside track at earning the starting gig (especially if the Colts trade Brissett).