Jimmy Garoppolo is a name that probably most people haven't heard too often. With names like Bridgewater and Manzeil floating around, small school guys like Garoppolo can be passed over. After having a stellar high school career, Garoppolo came to Eastern Illinois, and didn't miss a beat. Once he was given the chance to start, he took the reins, and never looked back.
After his freshman year, the awards and honors started flooding in. The last few years in particular have had Jimmy on the short list for the Walter Peyton Award. It's not hard to see why. In his junior season, Garoppolo ended the season with 3823 passing yards, and 31 TDs. This year, he has blown those numbers out of the water. When it was all said and done, Jimmy finished the 2013 season with 4729 yards, and 51 TDs. Those are some big time numbers, but one could say that has more to do with who his competition was.
Projected 40: 4.72
With each year Garoppolo has started, he has shown improvement. He has improved in every facet of his game. Jimmy is being championed right now for the quickest release in the coming draft. I have seen two of his games so far, and I can attest to that quick release. His footwork has also greatly improved over his 4 year stint at Easter Illinois. Garoppolo can go under center or take the snap out of the shotgun. He is comfortable at either. Garoppolo has also shown great decision making with the ball. He knows when to tuck it and use his athleticism. He is Johnny Football, but he is quietly elusive. He feels pressure well, and knows when to get rid of the ball.
When watching him this year, I found it very difficult to find many negatives. It has been stated that scouts are concerned with his hand size. His small hands can lead to passes that aren't as tight as they need to be. In the few games I saw, I didn't see much of a problem with his spirals. The last one was in horrible weather. It didn't seem to bother him one bit. People will also harp about his competition. Yes, he is a small school QB, going up against far inferior competition compared to Manzeil. It's up to you to determine how much stock you put in that.
Despite Jimmy's small school status, it is very hard to ignore his natural talent at the position. His technique is something that can't be overlooked. Until I see more evidence that his hand size effect his play, I will not drag him down too much for it. I am undecided in how I would like the Jets to combat our QB situation in 2014. We can either bring in a vet to compete with Geno, or draft a guy. If we draft a guy, Garoppolo would be near the top of my list. With a good off-season, I can see his stock jumping as high as the 2nd round. With the QB talent in this draft being plentiful, and him being from a small school, I can't see him jumping into the 1st. Jimmy Garoppolo gets my stamp of approval.