Why Easton Stick has more upside than Love & Hurts
This year the Chargers hold the number 6 pick and in no way would I be mad at the team selecting a quarterback. In fact I would be on board with either Tua or Herbert as the selection. However I see a lot people saying they want to wait until the second round to select Jordan Love out of Utah State or Jalen Hurts out of Oklahoma. I even have seen some people saying that Love will go in the top 15 which I think is absurd and inaccurate. While I would welcome the addition of either Tua or Herbert I’m here to urge people that Easton Stick who is already on the roster (selected in the 5th last year) has just as much if not more potential/upside as some of the other quarterbacks deemed as projects. Namely Love and Hurts.
Let’s start with the case against Jordan Love. Everyone points to two things with Love and that’s his arm and his athleticism. There is no question that Love has a great release and a deep ball that comes almost effortlessly. In fact that is the one area that Love has over Stick and that’s his arm strength. However when it comes to athleticism everyone refers to coach Lynn’s comments when he mentioned that he wants a mobile quarterback and that a pure pocket passer leads to a dead offense. Yet the fact remains that Stick had better combine numbers last year than love did this year in almost every category. Stick has a 40 yard dash of 4.62 second vs Loves 40 yard dash of 4.75. He also scored higher in the 3 cone drill where stick was clocked at 6.65 seconds where Loves 3 cone drill was 7.21. So not only is his straight away spend a little better that Loves but the 3 cone drill also points to how much more agile he is. Although on paper and in highlight reels it appears that Love has a beautiful and effortless deep ball, nobody seems to mention that he only had a 31% completion rate on deep balls. Not just that but Love is guilty of two cardinal sins when it comes to quarterbacks. The first one is that he stares down his targets tipping his hat to opposing DB’s. Also when his first read isn’t available he starts to visibly panic and get shaky in the pocket. The fact that Love threw almost as many interceptions in 3 years (29) as stick did in 5 years (34) points to the fact the Stick takes much better care of the ball. Love did go through a regime change and some point to that as the reason for his 20 Td 17 Int season. This could very well be the case and is a very valid point however that doesn’t change his field vision. On the reverse side Stick has shown great anticipation on his timing routes and is quick to recognize his second or even third progressions with poise. Even evading the pocket and resetting to look down field.
The case against former Alabama/Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts vs Easton Stick is a bit harder to make on paper. In fact when comparing I found them too be more equal in a lot of ways then I had thought originally. However I happen to hold the good old fashioned eye test in a higher regard. On paper Hurts has higher combine numbers but just slightly, while they both have very similar stature. Hurts catches people’s eyes as potentially the next prolific rushing quarterback but the fact remains Stick is just as accomplished in that department with 42 rushing touchdowns at North Dakota where he took over after Carson Wentz. Hurts had 20 rushing touchdowns just last year at Oklahoma. Hurts passing numbers while with the crimson tide were never that impressive. Hurts accuracy while throwing to his left side is usually all over the place. He throw’s balls a step behind receivers on intermediate throws like quick slants and drag routes. His short to medium throws on his right side are usually on target every time. He tends to throw for the bigger chunk plays too often rather than settling for easy check downs in important situations. He is also too quick to escape the pocket rather than stepping up to make a throw whereas Stick shows a much more balanced attack of being to step up in the pocket while also show casing amazing scrambling ability. On the other side of the comparison would be that Sticks sometimes has trouble getting settled in or gets off to a slow start. Sticks mechanics while throwing on the run are impeccable and thrives in a system that is a blend of pro style mixed with the RPO which is exactly what coach Lynn wants to accomplish. Both players have been on the big stages. Stick won 4 national championships at the NCAA D1AA level while Hurts won 2 at the D1. I can’t seem to ignore the fact that Hurts lost his own team in the middle of a national championship game getting benched at halftime. Then he transferred to Oklahoma where he looked much better but against the weakest defenses in the country. One could even argue or wonder, what would have Stick done with the talent around him with the Alabama team if he was 49-2 at North Dakota? Hurts had the much better wide receivers however went against much better defenses while in the SEC.
The verdict seems pretty clear to me. Easton Stick is better than Jordan Love in almost every category except arm strength. When compared to Jalen Hurts it gets a little more nit-picky. However one guy has shown to be nothing more than a winner while the other one has exhibited a tendency to have meltdowns on big stages. Hurts can say he has played against better competition in college yet Stick now has one full year of NFL experience under his belt so which do you value more? If these two players are that similar and young then why waste a draft pick in the first place and just go with the guy who is already on the roster and already has one year of NFL development under his belt already? If the Chargers want to draft a quarterback it should be either Herbert or Tua. If the team is willing to wait on a quarterback then they might as well give Stick a real shot to see what he can do.