Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room showcases an example of North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick’s intuitive play-making that makes him an intriguing NFL Draft prospect.
Although each is a stylistically different passer, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, and Drew Brees are all intuitive playmakers. If you’ve missed my post about the intuitive nature of quarterback decision-making, you can find it here.
The reason each of these quarterbacks was undervalued by some but loved by an important few is that most people in and out of football don’t know how to value intuitive playmaking. They oversimplify it with buzzwords like the “It Factor,” and “intangibles.”
After 14 years of continually refining a process for evaluating talent that includes defining physical, technical, intellectual, and strategic skills for the positions that I study, I’m arriving at the conclusion that if you define the process well enough, the soft skills shine through and are embedded within the defined parameters of the process.
You begin to recognize decisions and actions that weren’t rehearsed together but borne from a player’s recognition of a situation and the ability to take disparate skills and craft them into a solution.
North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick is an intuitive playmaker because he can craft solutions in this manner. He also displays comfort and productive movement in the compressed quarters of a tight pocket that is difficult to teach — another example of a scenario where the setting isn’t predictable enough to rehearse the same way repeatedly.
Each pocket is unique and while there are movements that can be rehearsed, the combination of movements, routes, rhythms of footwork, and timing are unique. The best pocket players have an advanced ability to process movement around them with peripheral vision and timing and use that information to execute solutions from techniques that aren’t always practiced in the same combinations.
Stick has that knack for the pocket and this opening third-down throw against Illinois State is a play that most NFL quarterbacks cannot make from similar pockets.
Although intuitive play-making often separates the elite NFL starters from the pack, it’s not the magic pill of quarterbacking. A passer can have intuitive strengths back lack the intellectual, strategic, physical, or technical skills of an NFL starter.
This play is one of many examples of intuitive play-making from Easton Stick’s portfolio of work that makes him an intriguing prospect in a class that isn’t as strong at the position as it has been for the past two years. I
Is he a top prospect at the position this year? I still have more to see before I make that conclusion. Until then, ‘ll have a 30-minute Film Room on Stick posted later this week that fills in more of the details that make him an underrated option.
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