Running Man Chronicles: UNI
Over the Summer I had a discussion with an aspiring NFL draft talent evaluator. His breakdown of Easton Stick was as good as anything that I've seen on our quarterback but I disagreed with a few of the points that he made. The one that I am planning to address the most specifically this season is to pay close attention to the running of our quarterback. As a prospect being able to run can be an asset but being a running quarterback in the NFL lead to many injuries that "pocket passers" may not experience. I can count on one hand the number of running quarterbacks that have succeeded for many years without serious injury over the last 20 years in the NFL. Sure Stick could be the exception but I'm not ready to count on that and don't think you should count on that either. Think as you wish, but that's my recommendation.
The challenge I'm going to give myself is to go game by game, watching whether his runs seem to be a part of the designed offense or because it's still a basic instinct & primary facet of his game. At the end of the season maybe it will help shed some more light on our quarterback as a pro prospect.
Three runs, two for touchdowns, all in the second half when the guys really put their collective foot on the throat of UNI. The one yard dive was impressive because he showed the sense to not just push into a wall that wasn't going there but instead to instinctually go to where there was less resistance. It probably should have gone down as both a designed run and an improvisation but I'll stick with my initial assessment.
As for the other, he showed speed that I frankly didn't think he had once he got to the edge. Critics may say that the defenders who were chasing him were just slow. That may be true, I don't know 40 times for every player in the world but either way, that was a heck of a run and I'll give the man some credit for that!
Even a conservatively excellent performance such as he had using his legs may not translate well to the NFL. UNI is ranked so I'd think they have at least a guy or two that will get a sniff by the pros but doing what he did may not be replicatable at that level. How he did it could be. Three well timed and well executed uses of mobility in a game wouldn't add too many unnecessary hits.
We're close to half way through the season and I have yet to see a trend forming with regards to Easton's running tendency. That's good for the offense but makes it difficult to draw conclusions, even as the sample size gets big enough to do exactly that. In a vacuum, it was a borderline great game from the QB as a runner. I'll address the rest in the Pick Six later on!