ESPN analysts explain Jake Fromm’s slide in 2020 NFL Draft
ATHENS — Jake Fromm became the story of the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday when a relatively anonymous Florida International quarterback was selected before him.
James Morgan, from Florida International, was the seventh quarterback picked in the NFL draft, going in the fourth round while the Georgia team captain sat idle.
Why were teams picking all these quarterbacks ahead of Jake Fromm, ESPN host Trey Wingo asked his panel of experts.
“Coaches and scouts rave about the fact that he’s someone who’s extremely smart, someone who can digest a lot of information and transfer it to the football field,” ESPN analyst and former NFL defensive back Louis Riddick said.
“The fact of the matter is, when it comes to putting the ball where he needs to put it, and making all the different kinds of throws under difficult circumstances, he doesn’t have the same ability as these other quarterbacks.”
ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen said two of the NFL teams Fromm felt were interested in him, New Orleans and Indianapolis, went in other directions on Saturday.
“The Saints have no picks left for today,” Mortensen said, “and the Colts just took Jacob Eason, so certainly he’s discouraged.”
Eason reportedly saw his NFL draft stock fall because of concerns with his work ethic and attitude.
Riddick explained the dilemma the Colts likely faced when choosing between Fromm and Eason.
“It’s a gamble, when we’re talking about a guy like Eason as opposed to Fromm, from a dependability and maturity standpoint, but this is the game that we play in the scouting world,” Riddick said. “It’s all about what do you want. Do you want upside, or do you want the safe pick? And right now people are banking on the upside.”
Mel Kiper Jr. reiterated that Fromm’s throwing performance at the NFL combine in Indianapolis hurt him.
Indeed, NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner offered a blunt assessment at the time, questioning on live television if Fromm had enough arm strength.
ESPN analyst Daniel Jeremiah pointed out how Fromm was hurt as much as anyone by COVID-19 triggered cancellations of Georgia Pro Day and NFL interviews,
“We’ve talked about the absence of Pro Days to help guys post good 40 times or be impressive,” Jeremiah said. “Jake Fromm’s best asset is his ability to display that personality and leadership.
“When you don’t get face to face with those teams in the spring, I think that hurt him.”
Jeremiah compared Fromm to Jake Delhomme, a former NFL quarterback who started for the Carolina Panthers between 2003-2009 and lasted 14 years in the league.
“I think he has been productive in a run-heavy offense there at Georgia,” Jeremiah said. “I compare him to Jake Delhomme.
“Jake Delhomme wasn’t a first round pick, but Jake was very instinctive, very smart, and those guys just find their way on the field,” Jeremiah said. “(Fromm) has won a lot of quarterback competitions throughout his life, and he’s gong to have to go and fight his way through another one.”
Fromm’s slide triggered plenty of snarky comments on social media, many from fans of rival teams who the Georgia QB dominated.
Fromm led UGA teams to finishes of 13-1, 11-3 and 12-2, becoming the first full-time SEC East QB in history to reach the league title game three consecutive seasons.
Fromm dominated rivals along the way: 3-0 against Florida, 3-0 against Tennessee, 3-0 against Georgia Tech and 3-1 versus Auburn.