Dec 13, 2013; Charleston, IL, USA; Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) during the game against the Towson Tigers at O
It may be under one week until the free agency period begins, but we also cannot lose sight of the other major endeavor that occurs every spring. What is that? The NFL draft.
We know John Idzik’s mantra: “competition”. We know he is going to do his due diligence on every player available. If he really wants someone, he is going to work quite hard on it. Look at this tweet from our good buddy, Jake Steinberg, from “the Jets Blog”:
#Jets are definitely high on Jimmy Garoppolo. Met with him at the Senior Bowl, Combine and now flew out to his Pro Day yesterday to see him.
— Jake Steinberg (@Steiny31) March 5, 2014
Meeting with a player on three separate occasions shows an interest that is more than casual. Three meetings are only held for a player that a team is serious about. Are the Jets having doubts about Geno Smith? Or are they simply looking for competition? Either way, let’s take a look at the player of interest, Jimmy Garoppolo, QB from Eastern Illinois.
Here are his career stats from Eastern Illinois:
Garoppolo turned in a decent performance at the Combine. He ran the 40 in 4.97 seconds, and led the position in the 3-cone drill with a performance of 7.06 seconds. He jumped a 30.5 inch vertical jump, and 110 inches in the broad jump.
NFL.com says he is a quarterback that “…Possesses the physical tools to eventually earn an NFL starting job in a rhythm passing game with continued refinement, but is more of a caretaker than a game changer and will require some patience adapting to the NFL game.”
Let’s see if we agree with that assessment by taking a look at some film.
PROS: The first thing I noticed was his strong-arm. Jimmy can make all of the throws, all over the football field. He can shuffle around the pocket, all the while keeping his eyes down field, which is a huge trait necessary to make it in this league. He can throw guys open, hitting his spots accurately, and he has an excellent touch on the ball.
CONS: Until he gets the chance to prove otherwise, coming from a smaller school will always leave the question of competition. At Eastern Illinois, he’s not exactly coming from Ohio State, if you know what I mean. Although he keeps his eyes down the field nicely, sometimes those eyes lock onto one receiver. Garoppolo can get away with that at the college level, but pro level defensive backs are far too astute to let that happen.
The bottom line for me goes a couple of ways. For one, he is more than a “game manager”, his arm is too strong. I do agree with the NFL assessment, however, when it talks about him needing time to develop into an NFL starter. He will have to shed the habit of staring down his receiver. Doing that will go a long way to making Jimmy a credible NFL starter.
He would be a good value in the middle rounds. But, will bringing in young competition bring out the best in Geno Smith? I am not so sure. The Jets might be better served attacking the QB depth chart in free agency.
But the Jets could do worse than taking Garoppolo in the 3rd-4th round.