QB Battle: Gardner Minshew (Washington State) vs. Easton Stick (North Dakota State)

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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

It seems inevitable that the Redskins will select a young QB in the 2019 draft. Alex Smith's future hangs by a thread. The only certainty is that he will not suit up in 2019. That leaves the Skins with an unproven and injury prone Colt McCoy, and...well...some other guys. With Jay Gruden's job on the line, and the Redskins fanbase mired in doom and gloom, drafting a youngster to lead the way in the future seems like an imperative.

And don't believe the pundits. This is a great year to do so. While it's true that many of the marquee talents at QB may not be available in this draft, don't be mistaken. There is talent to be had. And in a rare scenario, most of the teams drafting ahead of the Washington Redskins in Round 1 are seemingly set at the most important position on the roster. The Redskins have two choices. Draft one of a handful of more highly touted stars with their first pick, or try and beat the Vegas odds by picking up that hidden gem in later rounds.

In our 4th pre-draft QB battle we pit two dark horse candidates who most draft experts see going in the mid-to late rounds, Washington State's Gardner Minshew and North Dakota State's Easton Stick.

Gardner Minshew
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 220 lbs
Career Passing Yards (2.75 seasons): 8,266 (276 yds/game)
Career Completion %: 65.2%
Career Yards/Attempt: 7.1
Career TDs: 62
Career INTs: 20
Career Rushing Yards: 43
Career QB Rating: 138.7

Highlight Reel:

Conventional Wisdom:

Minshew's collegiate career started with a bang as he lead Northwest Missisippi Community College to a NJCAA National Football Championship in 2015. Minshew then transferred to East Carolina where he spent 2 seasons but did not impress. Minshew's NFL potential is largely based on a fantastic final year at Washington State. His fans will quickly tout his nation-leading completion % in 2018. But Minshew's gaudy accuracy and total passing yardage #'s need to be viewed in context and with caution. Playing in Mike Leach's 'Air Raid' offense, nearly any QB with a modicum of arm talent is going to have impressive numbers. Minshew has NFL size and solid athleticism. He's got decent pocket awareness and has shown he can sense pressure and elude it with slight adjustments. He rarely took off out of the pocket. Minshew was literally the most accurate QB in the nation in 2018, and was accurate whether operating out of the pocket, or scrambling. Minshew has a short, compact, and efficient passing motion. He has displayed excellent ball placement abilities and consistently gives receivers a chance to catch the ball. He also throws a nice deep ball. Minshew was not asked to make multiple reads or work through a lot of progressions in Leach's system - so whether or not he can excel in that area is an open question. When it comes to arm strength, there is little consensus. Some scouts feel his arm is adequate as long as his feet are set. Other's view his arm as 'barely adequate' particularly on the move and on deep balls. Under pressure, Minshew looks skittish at times, and frequently takes his eyes off downfield targets. The other concern with Minshew - he played exclusively from the shotgun so projecting him as an under center QB is difficult. It is fair to characterize him as a 'one year wonder'. On the plus side, when placed in a high-powered offensive system with talent around him, he flourished.

Easton Stick
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 221 lbs
Career Passing Yards (3.75 seasons): 8,693 (158 yds/game)
Career Completion %: 61%
Career Yards/Attempt: 8.9
Career TDs: 88
Career INTs: 28
Career Rushing Yards: 427
Career QB Rating: 159.5

Highlight Reel:

Conventional Wisdom:

Stick is physically similar to Minshew, but is much more athletic. Capable of beating defenders with his feet and is a legitimate dual-threat QB. Throws very well on the move with super quick feet. Extensive college experience under center. Solid and consistent accuracy but level of competition is a concern as it is with Minshew. Works through progressions with ease and shows good patience in letting plays develop, but did not always make the correct read in college. Has a bit of a longer windup. Has decent arm strength but ball does show a tendency to float on him on more challenging throws. Rhythm passer who can be very effective and dissect defenses with quick hit passes. Is not a pinpoint passer and sometimes makes receivers work harder than necessary due to imperfect ball placement. Tends to hold onto the ball longer than advisable and does take some unnecessary sacks. Very poised under pressure and does not lose composure. Stick is a winner - racking up a 49-3 collegiate record with 2 national championships. Very smart kid who graduated with honors and is pursuing an MBA. Teammates love Stick and have seemed to respond exceptionally well to his leadership. Stick's perceived 'lack of arm strength' has kept him from being a higher tiered QB in the upcoming draft despite an impressive and consistent college career as a proven winner. He was not invited to the Senior Bowl.


If there is a hidden gem in the 2018 NFL draft, my money is on Easton Stick as that player. All Stick has done during his college career is win, win, win. His teammates don't just respect Stick - they nearly worship the guy. Minshew is a much more refined passer. He's very accurate, he has a very efficient throwing style, and his ball placement is among the best in this year's QB draft. But I don't trust his numbers. He was a so-so QB during 2 seasons at East Carolina, and only exploded in the Air Raid offense under Mike Leach's guidance. We don't even know if Minshew can play under center, and he's unable to beat you with his feet which in today's NFL is a liability. Stick is a far superior athlete who is a legitimate dual-threat QB. He's not the pretty passer that Minshew is. His ball placement and arm strength are only decent. But he just seems to know how to make plays happen. He has a wealth of experience playing in a traditional NFL offense and has the leadership traits you want in a young QB. Both QBs are good decision-makers with impressive QB to INT ratios. Both have decent, not great arms that could limit them at the NFL level (although I'd have to give the edge to Minshew in terms of pure arm talent). But Stick's athleticism and great leadership skills would make him the clear choice for me. If Stick is available in rounds 5 through 7, I believe the Redskins should draft him even if they've already found a projected starter elsewhere.

***Next Up: Kyler Murray vs. Drew Lock***

WARNING: Readers of the QB Battle Threads should embrace predictions with caution, as the creators of this feature may be wrong, misguided, or generally way off base. The author retains the right to totally deny such predictions, delete embarrassing content, or otherwise reject responsibility for statements that prove to be stupid, errant, or humiliating.

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