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Poking the Bear, or rather, the Bison.


There’s been a lot of hype already about a certain NDSU quarterback with regards to his chance to be an NFL draft pick. I have my bias and I own it, but I’m going to try to make an unbiased pros and cons look at the Bison’s latest signal caller. Operative word is try. Whether I succeed or fail at limiting the impact of my bias will only be known once it’s all done. Well here goes!


Pro

Two and a half years of starting experience in a pro style offense going into his senior season.

Con

The quarterback in NDSU’s system is primarily a game manager. Right or wrong, for better or worse (& more often for better), the team still is based on it’s running-back’s & it’s defense.

Pro

Easton is as athletic a quarterback as NDSU has ever had, including Carson Wentz. He's a borderline power 5 level player purely on his physical abilities that the team pilfered & developed.

Con

As a microcosm of the growing chasm between college and professional Football, Easton relies on his superior athleticism to make play, after play, after play that would not be available to be made in the NFL. This is the crux of my concern about him as a NFL prospect. Unless a guy has the speed & quickness of Michael Vick, the size of Cam Newton or the inherent ability to avoid big hits like Russell Wilson, it’s almost impossible to be a running quarterback in the NFL. It didn’t work for Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, or Vince Young and only briefly for Colin Kaepernick. Those are just the one’s that come to mind off the top of my head but are merely a sampling of players who ran a lot and flamed out in the NFL. I do not think that Easton has the speed or quickness to run in the NFL nearly as much as he does for NDSU. But as the bigger and stronger Carson Wentz has showed, a trait that is used that much in development is hard to shake & as we all know, Carson couldn’t even make it through two full seasons of running in the NFL without getting injured.

Pro

He has improved on a season by season basis, while avoiding long stretches of ineffective and/or erroneous play, even when playing in place of Wentz as a Freshman.

Con

While his play has improved each year, there is limited evidence that he will be able to make the necessary throws that will be routine in the NFL. That’s not his fault but is just a result of the level of competition that he’s faced.

Pro

He’s the latest in a long line of great quarterbacks, the last two of which have spent multiple years playing professionally. Whether he’s drafted or not, I do think that he has the intelligence to be the third straight Bison great to spend more than the league average of three seasons in the NFL - as a backup.

Con

As this year demonstrated, several Bison greats barely sniffed the NFL. If Tre Dempsey or Jeff Illies even got an invite to a rookie camp, I never heard about it. And even the ones who got invites weren’t able to break into the 90 man rosters. Nick Deluca and Chris Board are on firmer standings but even those two have a lot of work to do to not be one camp and done guys. In other words, being a Bison great doesn’t automatically equate a future in the NFL. So the later he's drafted, the more time he will get to develop and maybe then he could even become a starter. It worked for that guy in Green Bay...not to make comparisons because that would be foolish but facts are facts.

Pro

Stick isn’t a linebacker, tight-end, safety, or lineman. Quarterback’s ascend in the draft every year, just look at Baker Mayfield as proof of that. In the ultimate contradiction to my opinion, I like Stick more than Mayfield. Yeah, I like a guy that I think will go undrafted more than a guy who just went #1 overall. Because Mayfield is a moron and won’t last in the NFL. Of the top guys from this years draft class I would say that Stick’s ceiling is a poor man’s Lamar Jackson. He’s not as quick or fast but he may be a better passer, may be. Either way, the superior Jackson was barely a first round pick and will back up Flacco this year so people shouldn’t get so worked up about the idea that Stick may back up for at least a while.

Con

This one was never more clear to me than this year and applies to every college Football player - it’s tough to get drafted. Tom Brady was a sixth round pick. Curt Warner & Tony Romo went undrafted. The list of non quarterbacks who were selected late or not at all is Santa naughty list like. People treat the draft like it’s a right to be selected, on the contrary, it’s a gamble by the teams and a privilege for the players. But actually sometimes it’s not even a privilege because there’s not a whole lot of difference between the seventh round and undrafted. I’ll venture to say that for the undrafted players who choose the right city to start their pro careers, it’s an advantage not being drafted! It’s worked out decently well for John Crockett. Better for Taz then Billy Turner I’d say!

Pro

I'd like to end on a positive note, so bare with me. Even though there is nowhere near the level of talent on defense in the FCS that he would face in the NFL there is evidence to suggest that he could make at least some of the necessary throws to stick in the NFL (pun intended). When it's all boiled down, that's what it's all about for him and every other one across the country. The scope of the evidence is limited so I can't, & wouldn't, say it's a guarantee but showing flashes is better news then if he could only make the "easy" throws. What's more, he has another full season to expand his tape so even though my opinion is still what it is, I hope he stays healthy & has one of the best seasons in the school's long, rich history!

So that’s that. Maybe there are more pros or cons worth including, and I’ll insert them if you take the seconds necessary to share what they may be. I know I'm poking the Bison with this topic but I’m not trying to be a hater on the guy. He’s been a key player in the last two championships and will be crucial to another championship being won by the Bison in 2019. I actually think he's gotten more criticism then he deserves but I still couldn’t sit idly by, hearing some insane projections about our starting quarterback, and not say something. I think I was fair & balanced with both the criticism and the compliments, but you be the judge!

For now, it’s a wrap!

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