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A Bison Bye Week Filler

If you're like me, you're watching one game or another today but aren't especially interested in any of them as you wait for the next 168 hours to pass so that the Bison Football team is back playing (and winning.)

Maybe, just maybe this can help get you through a little bit of the time.

If you're reading this, you're likely a Bison fan. If you are a follower of this blog, you should have a pretty good idea of how I feel about Easton Stick. Just so that no one is excluded, let me suffice it. Coming into the season I was lukewarm on him as a player. I had heard of his intelligence and how he's a generally "good" guy which would be a great if I knew him personally or had direct contact with him often. As an opinionated outsider, I just look at his performance on the field.

Over his previous 2+ years he had shown flashes of good play. I think he improved every year. But there isn't a multi-year starting quarterback in the country who hasn't managed to make pro level throws in isolated instances.

Then came the Summer of 2018. Thanks in large part to Carson Wentz & to continuity in much of the coach staff, his name was flying about at what I still consider to be a ridiculous level. One blog went so far as call Stick the top quarterback prospect in all the land. My reaction to that at the time was somewhere between 😲 & 😵 .

As the season went through it's first few weeks, it seemed like more of the same from the senior QB. Good plays every so often but not great. I don't know what flip the switch but about a month ago he started playing like a guy who deserves all the hype that was coming his way. The kind of play needed by a player on the lower level to get drafted.

It will still come down to how he does at the Senior Bowl, Combine, pro day, and individual team work outs - all the while needing continued good health - but after seeing his performance recently I can't see how he doesn't get drafted. It's a full 180 turn from where I was at about him going into the year, but he's just been that good! Then it will come down to him landing in the right spot so that he can continue to learn & mature in the game at it's highest level.

But enough about me and my thoughts. My objective today is to take a trip around the internet to see what "experts" & other people with URL's are saying about Mr. Stick.

The first stop on the trip is at what I consider to be the best free sports information site on the web. I like Walter Football in part because of the player by player bios that they include. They have Easton ranked just behind such stalwarts as Deondre Francois (FSU), Nate Stanley (Iowa) & Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt) to round out the top 15 draft eligible quarterbacks.

That ranking motivated me to take a look at how many have been drafted over the last few years. 2018 had 13 total taken, with eight after the first round. 2017 finished with 10 names being called, at least one in every round. 2016 included 15 QB's going off the board while 2015 only had seven get selected. The pre-Wentz draft seems like an outlier over the last decade of the draft but could we be in store for a similar outcome next April? With five signal callers being taken in the first round last year & only a couple teams having "needs" at the position, the perceived weakness of the next draft class could shrink the number of players called over the seven rounds. But I can speculate more that later. Let's move to the next quarterback related post.

It comes courtesy of SB Nation's New York Giants site. As one of the teams near the top of the "needs" list, I was interested to see how they're fans look at the crop of possibilities. They also went into some depth about quarterback options as they see it, going 10 deep with paragraphs on them all & then another eight names worth knowing. The group of eight is where our guy gets slotted. I reached out to them about future posts in the same vain and was told that they would do things differently as the process moves forward. I also asked about the order of the final eight, if it was strategic or random and it was random which still leaves Stick outside the top 10 by those professional fans. They are not alone with that opinion as things stand today.

So from there I found a USA Today article that went 75 players deep ranking players one month ago. If it were updated today, maybe it would be different but that's a fairly comprehensive & fairly recent look by a national writer.

Another national publication, Sports Illustrated, only went 32 picks deep with their most recent mock draft - three of whom were quarterbacks. I'm not sure it'll play out that when as the clock runs but it's within the realm of possibility. Just over two weeks ago SI also dropped a hard top 10 of college quarterbacks. Coming in at #__ was Easton Stick. That's not a typo, he wasn't in their top 10 even with as well as he's played lately.

Elsewhere on the national landscape, CBS Sports put out their top 99 players, which included 11 quarterbacks. None of those 11 are named Easton Stick.

And then there was one of the most prominent talent evaluators that isn't employed by a franchise - Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. I reached out to him personally about Easton but never received a response. Nonetheless, his latest ranking needs to be included. He also goes 11 signal callers deep, due to a technicality. The second on his board is from a small school, but they wear blue, play in the ACC & are a Basketball powerhouse. That's as close as he gets to including Mr. Stick in his latest post.

Maybe some of the more fringe blogs will include Easton's name among the 10 best, so they're up next.

It's only fringe as a sports site but Newsday put out a top five + five names to watch. The theme continued with their posting as well.

Maybe Stick would be #11 for all these guys, or maybe the nationals are overlooking our guy, or maybe the hype train was a little unwarranted. There's one more to include that does have our guy on the list but it's with a firmly undrafted ranking at #20 out of 21 members. He's ahead of a former Heisman conversation member, so maybe that's a little consolation but check out the Drafttek ranking for yourself.

So where does that leave us as fans?

It's a tough question to answer. By this time in 2015, Carson Wentz had risen to being almost a foregone conclusion as a first round pick, up from a mid to late round guy at the beginning of that season. As I have already indicated, I think that he's helped himself in the process with his play on the field in recent weeks. If he leads the Bison through the "gauntlet" back to Frisco & to another title it could only help him all the more.

But I'm no expert. I can only make guesses at what NFL scouts look for in the quarterbacks that are drafted. We've all seen players taken in every round of the draft, from school far & wide fail miserably. And then there's Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Kurt Warner, etc. who were selected middle to late to not at all but ended up having successful careers.

As great as it would be to have another first or second round QB to the credit of the coaches, it'll be as much about him ending up in the right situation. Maybe Minnesota. Maybe Philadelphia...but I hope not. Maybe San Diego. The right spot, to learn & become even more prepared for a chance to play & succeed.

We should all want that for a genuinely "good" guy!

The process has barely begun and many more opinions will be formulated while facts are compiled which will create a much clearer picture of where & if/when he is drafted, even though I think it's very likely.

So as you have a Saturday full of family, leftovers, Football & whatever else, it's something to think about. If you liked or think I missed something, let me know!

Either way, thanks for reading & enjoy your day!!

#ProBison #NDSUFootball #EastonStick #BisonFootball #NFLDraft #FCSPlayoffs