Road to the Draft: E. Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo

Road to the Draft: E. Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo
May 3, 2014, 11:30 am
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Jimmy Garoppolo
Quarterback, Eastern Illinois, 6-2, 226 pounds, 11/2/91

2013: 375 of 568 for 5,050, 53 TDs, 9 INTs
2012: 331 of 540 for 3,823, 31 TDs, 15 INTs
2011: 217 of 349 for 2,644, 20 TDs, 14 INTs
2010: 124 of 211 for 1,639, 14 TDs, 13 INTs

Originally from Arlington Heights, Ill., and went to same college as Tony Romo where he rewrote the record books at the Division 1-AA level (FCS, they call it for now). Won the Walter Payton Award as the best FCS player in 2013 and followed that up by being named Offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. Went 23-22 as starter at Eastern Illinois.

Lightning release with excellent touch. Very strong arm to drive the ball and is extremely decisive. Can throw on the move and works off a nice solid base and gets shoulders turned to the line even when he’s rolled out to get through his throws. Has played a lot and is respected as a leader.

The fact he comes from a lower level brings with it the inevitable and reasonable concern about how he’ll do against faster pitching, so to speak. His release isn’t over the top, more three-quarters (think Dan Marino arm slot) which can cause the ball to tail on occasion. The release height, his height and his relatively short arms will make it a little more difficult for him to find throwing lanes and will make quarterbacks adjust a bit to how he delivers the ball as opposed to over-the-top. Will be interesting to see how he functions against more intricate defenses.

With Ryan Mallett’s deal up after this season, the Patriots obviously need to groom a replacement backup and possibly a successor to Tom Brady. Garoppolo is smaller than the Patriots norm but has some of the Hoyer-esque attributes that made Brian Hoyer a nice backup and helped him become a starting-level QB. Quite a dice roll, in my opinion.

Mostly projected as a second- or third-round pick.