2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Eastern Illinois Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top quarterback prospects and we are focusing our attention on Eastern Illinois Jimmy Garoppolo today.
Without a Division 1 scholarship offer, Chicago native Jimmy Garoppolo toke his talents to Eastern Illinois, an FCS program. Despite planning on red shirting during his freshman year, multiple injuries to the quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart forced Garoppolo into the starting line up as a true freshman. He would never surrender the starting position and went on to shatter Tony Romo’s career (13,000 yards and 118 touchdowns) and single single (5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns) passing yardage and touchdown records.
A heady quarterback with a lightening quick releases, Garoppolo has some serious potential to become a viable starter in the NFL. But like most small school quarterbacks there are questions about his size, arm strength and quality of his competition. Still, Garoppolo stood out at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl against FBS quarterbacks and has seen his draft stock rise to a likely top 50 pick in this year’s draft.
Quick Release: Great upper body mechanics, doesn’t drop the football down, keeps it close to his body, compact delivery, fires the ball out quickly, gets the ball out quickly on bubble screens and hot routes, great ball skills on play fakes and zone reads and the ball has some snap when it leaves his hand.
Accuracy and Touch: Accurate up to 50 yards, puts the ball where only his receiver can make a play on it, anticipates well, hits receivers in stride on short throws enabling yards after the catch opportunities, has a nice pump fake, can reset his feet after changing his launch point and displayed good touch on his throws down the sideline or over defenders.
Vision: Progresses through his reads quickly and fluidly, not afraid to move on to his 3rd or 4th read, quick mind/eyes and has a high football IQ.
Experience: A four year starter that started 45 games in his collegiate career, developed some moxie and ability to move on from bad throws, improved every season, seemingly always under control, composed, carries an aura of confidence and led Eastern Illinois to the FCS Championship game and a 12-2 record in his senior season.
Footwork/Pocket Awareness: Get’s happy feet at times, often throws without setting his base and transferring his weight forward, allows pressure to rattle him, drops his eyes when the pocket starts to collapse, can’t feel defenders closing in on him and doesn’t secure the football well resulting in sack fumbles.
Average Arm Talent: Losses accuracy on true deep balls, doesn’t have the arm strength to fire passes into tight windows down the field, lack of top notch velocity can be an issue on sideline throws and can’t overcome his poor footwork with pure arm strength.
Level of Competition: Played in the FCS in a shotgun spread offense, only played 2 games against FBS competition last season and will need more time than top level college quarterbacks to adjust to the speed of the NFL.
Overall: Due to the legacy of Tony Romo at Eastern Illinois everyone has compared Graoppolo to the Cowboys quarterback. While their are some differences — mainly Graoppolo doesn’t let it fly deep or improvise as often as Romo– the comparison is actually pretty good. They both succeed because of their timing, intelligence and quick release despite having limited physical abilities.
Yet the lack of elite physical tools isn’t the only knack against Graoppolo. His footwork is inconsistent and erratic at times, he struggles with moving within the pocket, his eye level can drop under pressure and he has a bad habit of forcing passes into coverage. Now all of those fault are correctable with the right coaching but Graoppolo is a developmental quarterback that will have to undergo a huge adjustment from a wide open shotgun based offense in the FCS to a more traditional offense against NFL defenses.
Some team will bet a 2nd round pick on Graoppolo being able to follow in Romo’s footsteps and translate his success from Charleston Illinois to the NFL. With his solid skill set and sharp mind Graoppolo has a chance but he will be best served to sit for at least a year to adjust to the NFL.
Prediction: Top of 2nd Round
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