NFL scout on Garoppolo: 'Bill thinks he's got the next great one'

NFL scout on Garoppolo: 'Bill thinks he's got the next great one'

Covering the NFL for almost 20 years allows you to make relationships with a bunch of people. So I thought I'd tap into some of those people as we gear up for New England Patriots training camp for a series of pieces about topics we've been kicking around.

COMPARING THE 2007 AND 2017 PATRIOTS

The panel consists of one former Pats player still in the game, two scouts of AFC teams, one front-office member in the AFC, and one NFC scout. They all requested anonymity for obvious reasons (as the player said, "hey, I might want to end up back there!") I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had talking to these guys.

Today's topic: Why is Jimmy Garoppolo still here?

Scout 1 (AFC) -- "He's Bill Belichick. He doesn't give a [damn] about what you, or me or anyone else thinks. I know teams called about Garoppolo. I don't believe they were ever given a realistic price. Why? To me, the answer is simple: Bill thinks he's got the next great one. I watched his snaps. I think he can be that. [Garoppolo] has a great base, and his mechanics are close enough to [Brady] that you appreciate his willingness to learn and the coaching he's gotten there."

Scout 2 (AFC) -- "I absolutely loved the kid coming out of college. When we interviewed him, [it was obvious] he's got those qualities you want in a QB, as a leader. I begged our guys to take him at the end of the first round. That's how good I thought he was then. He's a hell of a lot better now. The job Bill and [offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels] have done with him, the work he clearly has put in, wrap all that up and it makes all the sense in the world to keep him. They can win with him. That's all you need to know -- in my opinion -- as to why they kept him. The moment that Brady guy starts to show cracks, the next guy is in already there, already knows the locker room, the system, the environment. I think it's genius."

Former Pats player -- "I played against him every day in practice. He's all that." Why? "He can make all the throws. He can process all the information. He is a gamer. He can slow it down. He can spin it. I'm going tell you this, if he had gotten traded to Cleveland, they're a borderline playoff team. I really believe that."

Scout 3 (NFC) -- "I know teams called and got nowhere. Easy conclusion is they see Garoppolo as the next QB. But I think it could be as simple as the value there. He's the player one snap away. Weigh that against the third guy (Jacoby Brissett) or some vet and maybe it was just too wide a gap to risk it. Keep him. See how the year plays out and then decide, do we want to franchise him? Ink him to some kind of bridge deal? Or let him go off into free agency?"

Front Office (AFC) -- "Bill knows something we don't. That's the way I read it. Whether it's Brady's future, or what they didn't see in Brissett, or something about the makeup of Garoppolo, he just couldn't part company with him. I can't say as I blame him. Finding one good QB in this league is hard enough. Two? Maybe only a handful of teams in the league can say they have that. Plus, with Bill, he's not worried about coaching for his job. He can think big picture -- two, three, four years down the line. That's not something too many other coaches/front offices in this environment get. He can afford to pass on a handful of draft picks to keep a player he really likes."

To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

Tom Brady is gunning for his sixth Super Bowl title, which makes him the sixth-best quarterback of the modern era, according to ex-Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Huh? 

Dungy was part of a panel assembled by ESPN's Mike Sando to compile a "GOAT Index", i.e., a ranking of the best QBs since 1978.

Why '78? That's when the NFL changed rules to open up the passing game. 

MORE PATRIOTS

The 10-member panel was made up of ex-head coaches Dungy, Pete Carroll, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Wade Phillips, Mike Shanahan, Al Saunders and Norv Turner, along with ex-assistant Howard Mudd and former GM and executive Mike Reinfeldt. 

Nine members listed Brady at No. 1 or 2. Dungy had him sixth, in part because he owed TB12's success to his coach and in part because Brady isn't fleet of foot.

"I don't think Bill Belichick would be Bill Belichick without Tom Brady, and Brady would not have the same success without Belichick and the way they have put that team together," Dungy told Sando. "But the one common thread through 15 years was Brady. When they had him, they won big -- won championships. The quarterback has so much to do with it."

Dungy didn't have Peyton Manning, his QB when he coached the Colts from 2002-08, as No. 1. In fact, Dungy has previously admitted that Brady has had the better career than Manning. 

"The one No. 1 vote Manning received came from a panelist with no ties to him," Sando wrote, which rules out Dungy and Mudd, the ex-Colts offensive line coach. The running ability of John Elway, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers helped put them in Dungy's top three.

Here's the consensus ranking of the panel:

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Joe Montana 
4. John Elway
5. Aaron Rodgers 
T-6. Dan Marino 
T-6. Brett Favre 
8. Steve Young 
9. Drew Brees 
10. Dan Fouts

All-Belichick team includes four current Patriots...and three Browns

belichick-brady-gronk-edelman.jpg

All-Belichick team includes four current Patriots...and three Browns

While some would argue that on paper, the current version of the Patriots might be Bill Belichick's all-time best team - or perhaps, the 18-1 Super Bowl runners up (ouch!) in 2008 - the NFL, via Gil Brandt, the longtime Cowboys personnel VP now a Sirius/XM Radio commentator, went ahead and put an All-Belichick Coached team together. Not on paper, but on video.

Obviously, Patriots dominate the list, but three Cleveland Browns managed to sneak in there. Four current Pats - Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Matthew Slater- get the nod. Here's the list: 

OFFENSE
QB:
Tom Brady
RB: Corey Dillon 
WRs: Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, Wes Welker
TE: Rob Gronkowski
LT: Matt Light
RG: Logan Mankins
C: Dan Koppen
RG: Steve Neal
RT: Orlando Brown (Browns)

DEFENSE
DL: Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Willie McGinest
LBs: Teddy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Chris Slade, Jerod Mayo
CB: Ty Law, Asante Samuel
Safeties: Rodney Harrison, Eric Turner (Browns)

SPECIALISTS
K: Adam Vinatieri
P: Tom Tupa (Browns)
ST: Matthew Slater
KR: Kevin Faulk