INDIANAPOLIS — Prior to the 2018 NFL Draft, reporters figured a quarterback like Kyle Lauletta with both Navy and lacrosse ties would be too appealing for Bill Belichick to pass up.
It got a bit ridiculous, and we were wrong.
But what about a quarterback whose name literally sounds like a lacrosse stick?
Enter North Dakota State’s Easton Stick, who tore up this weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.62-second 40-yard dash with a 33.5-inch vertical leap, 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump, 6.65-second three-cone drill and 4.05-second short shuttle at 6-foot-1, 224 pounds. Some of his closest athletic comps are wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Amari Cooper, safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Dorian O’Daniel.
You might remember Stick as the anonymous signal-caller who took over for then-injured quarterback Carson Wentz in 2015 and led the Bisons to the FCS National Championship Game. Wentz returned for and won that game, but Stick led North Dakota State to two more national titles in 2017 and 2018. Now he’s hoping to forge an NFL career.
Here’s how he’s pitching himself:
“I think the biggest thing as a player is I’m a winner,” Stick said. “I feel really fortunate to have played in Fargo and to have played in a winning program. I learned the process of winning. It’s one thing to show up and win games but, behind the scenes, there’s a lot that goes into it. You can’t just show up on Saturday and play well and win. There’s a lot that leads up to it throughout the week. As a quarterback, it’s a 365-day job. Being able to be that person all the time and everybody’s looking at you. So, first and foremost, definitely a winner.”
He completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,752 yards with 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a senior. He also rushed 117 times for 677 yards with 17 touchdowns in 2018.
In his college career, Stick completed 61 percent of his passes for 8,693 yards with 88 touchdowns and 28 interceptions with 427 rushing attempts for 2,523 yards with 41 touchdowns.
The Patriots showed a willingness to take a slightly undersized FCS quarterback five years ago when they selected Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois with a second-round pick.
Stick, who won’t be drafted that high, is well aware of Garoppolo’s success.
“It’s fun watching guys like Garoppolo,” Stick said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He was just finishing up at Eastern Illinois when I was just getting to North Dakota State, so I followed his career there at the end a little bit.”
Stick is projected to be drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. And if the Patriots draft him, it will have nothing to do with his name and everything to do with the upside he brings based on his athleticism, decision-making skills and history of winning.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images