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INDIANAPOLIS – As the fourth round started and reached the middle portion, the value of the Colts draft board met a player who had thought he might hear his name called at the end of Round 1.

For the first time since taking Chandler Harnish with the final pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Colts were ready to select a quarterback.

And it’ll be the big-armed Jacob Eason that Frank Reich will get to work with, after the Colts spent the 122nd overall pick (4th round) on the Washington QB.

“I think (Eason’s) arm talent was probably the best in the draft,” Reich said on Saturday night. “What I liked about his arm talent is he can throw it on a rope, he can throw it long, he can throw with touch, he can change his speed on the ball and he can deliver from different arm angles. The accuracy was fine. He needs to get better (there). His footwork needs to get better. Reading through his progressions needs to get better. There’s a lot of things that need work. But physically he has a lot of the tools. But we know that playing this position is a lot more than the physical. So that’s why we spent some time with him as far as the meetings, and protections, just trying to test the mental acumen of this position and try to get an idea of how they think as a quarterback.

“All the physical tools to play the position, size, strength, really good arm talent. Can make all the throws to all spots on the field. For a big man, I think he has some athleticism to him. Not that he’s a scrambler guy, I think he’s a pocket passer, but has athletic ability to move. I just think he’s still young and developing in the position. He doesn’t have a lot of miles logged. So could have came back for another year, but he gets in a chance to compete with Chad (Kelly) and see if he can continue to develop. We certainly saw some tools there that we think he has some of the qualities to play at this level.”

Throughout the Colts explaining the reason behind taking Eason in Round 4 on Saturday, Reich and Chris Ballard made sure to point where the rookie QB stands on the depth chart.

Eason is competing for the 3rd QB spot, behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett.

Ballard reiterated on Saturday that the Colts have no plans to move on from Brissett, as he plays out the two-year contract extension he signed last August.

Tempering expectations was the name of the game for Ballard on Saturday when talking about Eason.

“He’s got talent, but there’s a long way to go,” the GM said of Eason. “He still hasn’t put on a Colts uniform yet. Like any of them, they’ve got to earn it.

“Let’s slow our roll a little bit in tagging this guy the messiah. He’s a 4th round pick. We didn’t move up to the 1st pick of the draft. Jacob has talent. He’s got to work. And he’s got to earn it.”

Some questions about Eason’s character reportedly contributed to his fall in the draft.

During the draft process, the Colts sent out Brian Decker (their character expert) and Ed Dodds (their assistant general manager) to dive deeper into the background on Eason.

The Colts don’t allow just anybody to remain on their draft board, so clearly Eason checked enough boxes.

“I think it’s a little unfair,” Ballard said of some of the criticism Eason has gotten on his character. “Leaked sources, nobody wants to put their name on it.

“We did a lot of work on it. And, I promise you, Jacob understands the expectations that we have here. He’s got to make the team. Fourth-round pick, you still got to make the team. So if he works, hits his potential, he’ll be on the squad.”

Reich also acknowledged that some definite growth is still needed before Eason is handed any sort of long-term quarterback keys.

“I think Jacob is still young in his journey of handling that,” the head coach said. “He’s had some ups and downs. We did spend a fair amount of time with him, so you personally get comfortable with somebody. Not just as a football player, but as a person. You talk to them. You dig deep. You try to figure out what makes a guy tick.

“At the end of the day, we felt that we were able to spend enough time with him to feel that way.”