By now most Jets fans have become at least passingly familiar with the name Jimmy Garoppolo. The 23 year old, 6' 3" record setting quarterback for the Eastern Illinois Panthers with the lightning quick release has been climbing mock draft boards lately, with some even saying he could go in the first round. While I doubt he goes quite that high, if Jimmy G. should be there when the Jets are on the board at pick 49, Jimmy G. just might be fitted with a Jets uniform in 2014. Here's why.
Vick Isn't The Answer
The Jets acquired soon to be 34 year old Michael Vick this offseason with the possibility he may beat out Geno Smith for the starting job. Let's assume he does. Then what? How long will Vick remain a viable NFL quarterback? At age 34 this June, Vick is hardly a long term solution, even if he does start in 2014. Factor in the fact that he has had only one season in his career where he started more than 6 games and had a passer rating better than 85, and only three years over 78, and it is clear Vick has never been in the top echelon of NFL quarterbacks. If he hasn't been a top quarterback ever outside of that one magical year of 2010, why would we expect him to be one in the declining years of his career? Consider also that Vick hasn't started more than 13 games in a season since 2006, and has only started all 16 games once in his career, and his injury history is exposed as a clear liability. Throw in that with all the running he does Vick has been hit more than any active NFL quarterback and it is not a stretch to consider Vick to be at best a short term, one or two year stopgap. Given that most young quarterbacks need a few years to fully develop, it would probably be wise to find Vick's replacement sooner rather than later.
Geno May Not Be The Answer Either
Geno Smith was the lowest rated starting quarterback in the NFL last year. That's a fact. What that fact means is open to interpretation, as he was surrounded by an extremely weak supporting cast. But whatever it may or may not mean, surely being last does not in any way inspire unshakable confidence that Smith is the long term answer. The Jets seem to agree with that. First they brought in Vick, a legitimate threat to take Geno's job. Then they met with no less than seven college quarterbacks during the months leading up to the draft (Blake Bortles, Tajh Boyd, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jeff Matthews, Zach Mettenberger, Tom Savage, Logan Thomas). It is probably safe to say that the Jets would not have met with seven quarterbacks if they were uninterested in bolstering the position in 2014.
Of course, just because the Jets appear interested in drafting a quarterback does not in any way imply that the quarterback in question will be Jimmy G. Fair enough. But consider this. Only two of the seven quarterbacks the Jets met with were non-local guys who were among the select 30 players the Jets brought to the Jets facility. Those two were Logan Thomas and, you guessed it (clever you!), Jimmy G. One would presume if the Jets want a new quarterback to possibly compete for the starting job they might like to bring him in for a face to face meeting. And then then there is this. Jimmy G. has met with 15 NFL teams so far. Only three of those 15 teams have met with Jimmy G. twice. The Jets are not one of those three teams. That's because the Jets have met with Jimmy G. thrice, the only NFL team to have done so. Think the Jets are interested much?
One final note. The Jets have met with well north of 70 players leading up to the draft. Eight of those players have met with the Jets more than once. Two have met with the Jets thrice. One is cornerback Bradley Roby. The other (you guessed it again!): Jimmy G. So let's connect the dots. By virtue of age, health and overall less than top notch ability, Michael Vick is not the long term answer. By virtue of his current track record Geno may not be either, and the Jets appear to be highly interested in taking a quarterback in the 2014 draft. Jimmy G. is one of only two non-local quarterbacks invited to meet with the Jets in their allotted 30 in facility meetings. Jimmy G. is one of only two players, and the only quarterback, with whom the Jets have met three times. And the Jets are the only team in the NFL with whom Jimmy G. has met three times. The signs are there, and they are pointing rather strongly in the direction of Jimmy G. becoming Jimmy the Jet. I don't think the Jets would pull the trigger at 18, but if Jimmy G. is still on the board at pick 49, don't be surprised if Chad Pennington announces "With the 49th pick of the NFL draft, the New York Jets select... quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo!" I know at least one Brooklyn based Jets fan who would be thrilled if this came to pass. What about you? Do you think Jimmy will be a Jet, and if so, are you in favor of it?