Every so many years, the FCS throws up a first-round NFL Draft quarterback prospect. We’ve seen Trey Lance, Carson Wentz, and Joe Flacco permeate the first day in recent years. While there isn’t a prospect garnering that level of adoration in the 2022 NFL Draft class, Eastern Washington QB Eric Barriere has attracted national attention with several sensational performances this season. We delve beyond the statistics into Barriere’s scouting report to see if he should hear his name called in Las Vegas in April.
Eric Barriere NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Eastern Washington
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 210 pounds
Eric Barriere Scouting Report
Barriere heads to the 2022 NFL Draft with an impressive statistical résumé. Through Week 12 of the college football season, he leads all FCS passers with 40 touchdowns. Furthermore, Barriere sits second in the FCS for yards per game and total yardage. With just 6 interceptions, there are fewer quarterbacks at the level who are more careful with the ball.
While the statistical production is impressive — and a good place to start Barriere’s scouting report — it won’t define his potential at the NFL level. What will are physical traits that are geared up to meet the modern expectations of an NFL quarterback. What do we mean by that? Well, Barriere is an impressive mobile quarterback. He uses his mobility to not only escape the pocket but as a genuine creator out of structure.
Barriere possesses mobility, creativity, and NFL-caliber arm strength
The Eastern Washington quarterback possesses excellent speed, making him a dangerous threat on the ground. Aside from his speed, he also showcases ridiculous change-of-direction ability. He can shake a man out of his skin with his ability to stop/start on a dime.
As a passer, Barriere routinely displays good arm strength. He can zip the ball from the far hash to the sideline with relative ease. Additionally, he makes deep passes with accuracy without even looking like he’s trying.
He can throw with touch and anticipation. Barriere has the ability to climb in the pocket and make a throw with accuracy. He can also make throws across his body with relative ease.
With the above ability and the final season production, there is a chance that Barriere could hear his name called on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if he doesn’t, it would be a surprise not to see him picked up as a UDFA and make his way to a camp next spring.
Areas for improvement
While Barriere meets some of the requisite traits for the modern-day NFL quarterback, there are areas for improvement on his scouting report. Additionally, some elements will limit his 2022 NFL Draft stock.
At 6’1″ and a listed 210 pounds, Barriere looks slender out on the field, which may pose durability questions about him at the next level. Those questions will be exasperated by his play style. The Eastern Washington quarterback doesn’t routinely protect himself as a runner.
Barriere at times demonstrates questionable decision-making. This is evident in his pocket awareness, where he’ll leave a clean pocket quickly and tuck and run without allowing the play to unfold properly.
If there was one word to describe Barriere’s areas for improvement is consistency. While he does many things well and demonstrates NFL-caliber traits, he doesn’t demonstrate them consistently. His touch and anticipation throws can be just as poor as they can excel. Furthermore, an unorthodox throwing motion when off-platform can lead to some wobbly and inaccurate throws.
Eric Barriere Player Profile
By their very nature, FCS prospects spend their entire career flying under the radar. Barriere’s route from Inglewood to the 2022 NFL Draft is no different. Although he received collegiate interest coming out of high school from Oregon, Ohio State, Mississippi State, and Baylor, none of those Power Five programs extended a scholarship offer.
It wasn’t for a lack of production on Barriere’s behalf. In his second year at La Habra High School, the young quarterback had earned first-team all-sophomore honors after throwing 29 touchdowns and 2,401 passing yards. As a junior, he demonstrated his dynamic dual-threat ability by adding 7 rushing touchdowns and 583 rushing yards to 29 passing touchdowns.
For his junior season performances, Barriere was named the Freeway League MVP, an honor he repeated in his senior season. In the most prolific season of his high school career, the La Habra QB threw for 3,077 passing yards and 46 touchdowns. Meanwhile, he found the end zone on 12 occasions to cap off 940 rushing yards on the year.
Barriere finds a suitor in Eastern Washington
Barriere also earned a reputation as a big-game performer. During his La Habra career, he tallied 36 postseason touchdowns in just eight games. Even with multiple season accolades and a three-star ranking from 247 Sports, Division I college offers proved as elusive as the shifty quarterback. However, there was one team that had zeroed in on Barriere.
The Eastern Washington Eagles already had two quarterbacks in Jordan West and Gage Gubrud. Despite this, they’d been determined to add a quarterback in the 2016 quarterback class.
But they didn’t just want any old passer.
“There was no question we wanted to sign a quarterback,” head coach Beau Baldwin said on National Signing Day. “But, we wanted to make sure we signed the right player. We did that with Eric. He was the top quarterback since we started the recruiting process, even before his senior season. He fits into our program and offense extremely well.”
Barriere’s career at Eastern Washington
Despite earning praise from the coaching staff upon his commitment, Barriere redshirted in 2016. Although he earned Scout Team Player of the Year honors, he remained the backup to Gubrud to start the 2017 season. The young Eastern Washington QB suffered a disastrous debut against Texas Tech, going 1-of-2 for 13 yards and an interception after coming off the bench.
When his number was called due to Gubrud’s suspension, however, he showcased his true talent. In his first start for the Eagles, Barriere helped Eastern Washington to an unlikely win over North Dakota. That performance was a sign of things to come in 2018.
Barriere spent the first five games of his redshirt-sophomore season as the backup once more. However, an injury to Gubrud led to an opportunity for significant game time. It was one that Barriere grabbed with both hands, leading Eastern Washington on a seven-game win streak and ultimately to an FCS Championship appearance.
Although they came up short against North Dakota State, Barriere had cemented his place in Eagles history. The Eastern Washington QB set school and FCS playoff records with 7 touchdowns against Maine. Furthermore, he secured a school record for a quarterback run with an 85-yard touchdown against Southern Utah in his first start of the season.
Barriere secures the starting role for his redshirt-junior season
Not only did Barriere cement a place in the school record books, he secured the starting quarterback role for the 2019 season. During that year, he established himself as one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the FCS. The redshirt junior threw for 3,712 yards with an incredible 31:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Barriere went 239 attempts without throwing an interception, setting a program record for TD:INT ratio.
Adding 558 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground, the Eastern Washington QB finished the year second in the FCS with 355.8 total yards per game. As a result of his performances, he earned third-team FCS All-American, third-team All-Big Sky, and EWU Offensive Player of the Year honors.
With such accolades came heightened expectations. Ahead of the 2020 season, Barriere was named the preseason Big Sky Offensive MVP and a preseason FCS All-American. Even amidst the disruption of the 2020 college football campaign, Barriere continued to churn out game-changing performances.
Although he threw an interception in the season opener against Idaho, he extended his streak to 250 passes without a pick. With five games of 300+ passing yards, he surpassed the 10,000 figure for his career. Those also included three games with over 400 passing yards. Additionally, he exceeded the school rushing yards record by a quarterback previously held by Vernon Adams Jr.
Exploding into the national consciousness against Idaho
He finished the FCS spring season as the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, winner of the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, and was also named FCS Player of the Year. While Barriere could have taken the momentum of those performances into the 2021 NFL Draft, he opted to return for another season with the Eagles.
It was a decision that has paid off for both player and program. Barriere is enjoying his most sensational season to date.
In 11 games, he’s thrown for 4,257 yards and 40 touchdowns — both career highs. Although he posted 500+ yard games against Western Illinois and Southern Utah, one game earned him national attention.
Barriere put his name firmly on the 2022 NFL Draft map with a 600-yard passing performance against Idaho. He also threw 6 passing touchdowns and ran in for another score. When you’re an FCS prospect, you have to stand out from the crowd. The Eastern Washington QB certainly has done that this season, helping add his name into a quarterback class that could use a feel-good story from the FCS.