Running Man Wrap
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 can 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.
15 games, 15 looks at Easton Stick's running in conjunction with him as a pro prospect. Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson may be changing the professional perspective on quarterbacks who run a lot but I still consider them to be more aberration than trend. RG3, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick. Just a few of the run heavy quarterbacks that flamed out in the NFL for one reason or another. Stick showed that he can be a capable passer this year against some of the FCS's best so I don't think he'd suffer the same fate as Tebow & Young. He's also not as run dependent (or excellent) as RG3 was during his rookie season so he may not get hurt the way that Griffin did. And he's shown over all 5 years that he's a stand up guy so I don't see him going the ways of Manziel or Kaepernick.
Maybe he can be a slightly taller version of Russell Wilson. Elusive while looking to make the right throws down field. This season that worked at certain times but other times he wasn't able to get away from the speed of the FCS players long enough to throw the ball away or complete a pass. So the 5 yard sacks occasionally become 10 or more yard ones. Against NFL rushers the number of times that he loses extra yards could go up by trying to make a play every time.
Ideally he'll end up in a spot where he can watch, practice and earn a spot, much like Carson did, much like Wilson did.
My concerns about his longevity in the world's top Football league remain because of his running - but that would be true of any quarterback that I want to succeed. If I had been running this site when Wentz was here I think I would have had similar concerns. They are magnified with Easton because I think he's a faster pure runner, possibly quicker but also much smaller. So when a safety comes in to lay the wood or when a linebacker strings him out then delivers the blow because he's become a runner, the damage will be greater to him than to his predecessor, and look at all the injuries that Wentz has dealt with going back to his days at North Dakota State.
The devil's advocate to my assessment is that he could be like Wilson. More often than not this year the runs that he took off on were good decisions. His final play as a Bison was a great call. If you scroll through the gallery of game logs you'll see that few are the number of times I considered his mobility to be used poorly. Maybe that can continue in the pros. I'm doubtful but I don't pretend to be a know-it-all. He's already all but proved me wrong about his chops as an NFL prospect so I can't say he won't able to perform as he did for NDSU with whichever team brings him into their fold.
Sorry to not be more conclusive, but the answer of whether he'll be a long time NFL quarterback is about a decade away. The answer to whether he'll be able to run like he did for the Bison is at least one year away. I think he could but I'm not convinced it would be the most prudent method of performance as things stand, even with the overall great way that he did it this season.
So I hope you enjoy speculation because it's going to be coming like an avalanche over the next 3 months. For now, and especially on this topic, that's a wrap!