INDIANAPOLIS — Should quarterback Jacob Eason have stayed at the University of Washington for another season? That remains a debate as the NFL combine kicks off this week.
According to a story published Monday on NFL.com — the league’s official website — at least two unnamed general managers said Eason should have remained with the Huskies for one more season.
“He’s a big guy who’s athletic with good arm strength, and he can make all the throws,” an unnamed AFC GM said. “It would’ve helped him to stay in school another year — there’d be less uncertainty — but I could see teams liking his traits and projecting him as someone they could develop into a starter.”
But to Eason, leaving UW was a no-brainer, if for no other reason than he just felt like it was time — he’ll turn 23 in November and had already spent four years in college between his two years at Georgia and two more with the Huskies.
“A lot of it was just me feeling ready and ready to take on that next challenge, that next opportunity,” Eason said Tuesday during his official session with the media at the NFL combine. “… I felt like I maximized what I was going to be able to do in terms of school and college and everything around that area. The NFL has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and I felt ready and I wanted to go take on that challenge.”
UW’s coaching change from Chris Petersen to Jimmy Lake could’ve factored in and also would’ve meant playing for another offensive coordinator.
Eason, though, put a positive spin on working in vastly different offenses during his run-up to the NFL, from Lake Stevens High School to Georgia and UW.
“I think early on in my career going down from a high school that was a West Coast, no-huddle spread offense to a pro-style offense at Georgia as an 18-year-old, learning on the fly there, and then ultimately coming to Washington, which was pro style with a little bit of spread mixed in there — two different offenses, two different coordinators, two different head coaches — as I matured and grew older in this profession, it all kind of came together and I was able to learn a lot more a lot faster.”
The lengthy NFL.com story also attempted to dispel rumblings that NFL teams have questions about Eason’s commitment to the sport, stating “numerous NFL coaches and talent evaluators say they don’t view Eason’s past partying exploits as a serious concern.”
Eason didn’t get specifically use the word “partying” on Tuesday, but acknowledged that the two years he basically didn’t play — his final year at Georgia when he lost the job after being injured and then the redshirt year at UW — taught him to appreciate the game more.
“Throughout high school and all the way up to my freshman year, I was the guy, I was the starter,” Eason said. “So initially, that sophomore year was new for me, I had to learn how to operate in that role, and ultimately in that experience I gained a new appreciation for the game having it taken away on Saturday. I learned how to become a better practice player, loved to go in and lift and run and work out and all those things. The camaraderie in the locker room and a bunch of different areas of the game that you lose sight of when it’s all about Saturdays but when you get it taken away, you get a new perspective.”