Running Man Chronicles: USD
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.
As many of his comrades went down with injuries, Easton shined as brightly in one game as he ever has in his successful collegiate career! I'll get to the overall in the Pick Six but here's the latest look at the QB's mobility usage.
His second run of the game was another example of a split decision. One play before his first rushing touchdown of the day he rolled out to the right, looking to pass and got the yardage that he could. It was a good decision in that respect but he only gained a couple yards and took an unnecessary hit, which if you've been following along in my season long look at his running, is something that I'm concerned about for his future.
The next specially annotated line came in waning moments of the first half. Easton used his mobility to avoid pressure, allow his receivers to get open and then he delivered a dandy of a throw from that new launch point. In moderate contrast to the first example, it was exactly the kind of play that I like to see from him!
Third and finally came the kind of play that should keep even the most mobile of quarterbacks from leaving the pocket. After moving to his right, he opted to pick up what yards he could and while running was very visibly horse-collar tackled along the sideline. It's a penalty so the team gained the yards and he wasn't hurt but it's long been outlawed for a reason. So while I know injuries from it are rare today, in a game that was well in hand it would be maddening to have had him take an injury in that position. I don't like that his being in that position was due to his own decision making. It wouldn't be a talking point if the defender had made a legal tackle, so I'm not letting him off the hook for the foul but I'm continuing to look for Mr. Stick to put himself in the best positions to remain healthy! His first run in the third quarter did not do that.
The three that followed it were clean which means that both he, the rest of the offense and the Coyotes defense played it differently until he was pulled from the game.
As far as the running goes it was mostly good, even great, but not quite the best that it could have been. The best is reserved for the evaluation of his total game today in the Pick Six!