Jake Fromm’s not for everybody, according to NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
That probably doesn’t seem like much of a revelation for Georgia football fans. They’ve seen Fromm championed as a hero as a freshman, and booed along with teammates at halftime of a scoreless home game with Kentucky this past season.
“I don’t think he’s for everybody,” Jeremiah said on an NFL Network conference call on Friday.
“But I think if you’ve got run-game (offense), and you want somebody to be efficient and make good decisions, I think that’s who Jake is.”
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart felt the same way. That’s who Fromm was throughout his career with the Bulldogs, asked to hand off to first-round caliber tailbacks while making sure to be careful with the football.
It was a formula that led to Fromm becoming the first full-time starter in SEC history to win three consecutive East Division championships while running up a 35-7 record as the starter.
Of course, Georgia has become a program where it seems only a national championship will do. So when the wheels came off in a rebuilt receiving corps this season — the top five pass catchers from the season before were gone, and six players missed games due to injury — Fromm was put on blast by critics.
There are considerably more positives than negatives where Fromm is concerned on and off the field, and Jeremiah pointed out NFL teams have and will take note.
“When you visit with him, you’re immediately impressed just talking with him,” Jeremiah said. “He’s very mature. He’s engaging. You can see how he’s won over the locker room there at Georgia.
“He’s going to be impressive when you get in the room and get on the board and talk Xs and Os, very sharp.”
Fromm — 35-7 as the Bulldogs’ starter — was also honored as one of only 22 student-athletes in the nation to be part of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his community and charity works off the field.
But the NFL draft process is a business, and there’s a harsh bottom line with franchises investing millions of dollars, and coaches and general managers putting their careers on the line with each pick.
Players learn quickly it’s the antithesis of recruiting, where attributes are accentuated and shortcomings minimized.
NFL teams still feature quarterbacks who lack the ability to make plays with their legs, but arm strength is a must, and Fromm will be under the microscope at the NFL combine next week in Indianapolis.
“The knock on him, the concern has really been pure arm strength,” Jeremiah said. “When I’ve watched him, I’ve seen throws, I’ve seen him make deep outs from the far hash in the Florida game. You see examples of it, but there’s other times where the ball hangs and the ball dies.”
Fromm’s struggles throwing in the rain against Kentucky were well-documented and surely noted by NFL teams.
Fromm’s passing line against Kentucky — 9 of 12 for 35 yards — came amid heavy rains and wind gusts measured between 14 and 20 mph.
“It was tough, the ball was super slippery out there tonight, so we said ‘Hey, it’s going to be a ground and pound game,’ “ Fromm said.
“It’s really frustrating to pick up a ball, and (say) I’m going to throw it in that direction, but I have no idea where it’s going. Sometimes it was like that.”
It was an honest self-assessment, and there have been plenty of NFL quarterbacks who have struggled in inclement weather.
Indeed, even NFL legend Tom Brady had trouble in a rainy cold game last season, just 17 for 37 for 190 yards in a cold, windy and rainy game last season against Dallas.
Fromm has been doing all he can to improve his technique and set himself up for great success in Lucas Oil Stadium since announcing on Jan. 8 that he was leaving Georgia a year early.
Fromm will throw in front of NFL coaches next Thursday night (TV: NFL Network, 4 p.m.).
“I think mechanically he can help with some things there to get his lower body more involved,” Jeremiah suggested. “And I know he’s been down in Mobile, Alabama, at QB Country working with David Morris and (New York Giants QB) Daniel Jones is down there.
“He’s starting to make progress there. That’s his challenge. I have him in that second-round range.”
On Jacob Eason
While Fromm is at the forefront of the minds of Georgia football fans who also follow the NFL draft, former Bulldogs QB Jacob Eason will also be getting some attention.
It was Eason who Fromm replaced in 2017, after the incumbent fell injured in the opening game against Appalachian State.
Eason transferred to Washington, sat out a season, and has himself developed into one of the top NFL draft quarterback prospects.
But Eason, like Fromm, is not everyone’s cup of tea, Jeremiah indicated.
“Teams are literally all over the map, and I talked to a team yesterday that has him as the second quarterback in the draft, so there’s teams that really, really like Eason,” Jeremiah said. “And then you’ve got teams that have concerns.
“Now, when I watch him, I see the big arm. You watch the Oregon game, you get really, really excited. There’s a lot of good things to take away from that game. He’s got some really good tape.”
But as with most any player under the scrutiny of the NFL draft evaluation process, there are drawbacks.
“He’s got some bad habits where you get him off of his spot — he’s got a bad habit of trying to wheel out, turning his back on the defense,” Jeremiah said. “That’s something he’s going to have to clean up, which is something you can fix. But that’s one of the things to keep an eye on with him.
“And then you just want to see him be a little bit of a playmaker, instead of just being a pure thrower. I want to see him create some plays and extend some plays there. That’s the kind of thing with him. I think he’ll go in the first two rounds. Wouldn’t shock me if he went in the first round …. “
The 2020 NFL Draft takes place April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Fromm will be among 10 Georgia football players at the NFL combine, which begins with players reporting on Sunday and runs through March 2.
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