We all know the Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking at quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, the biggest question is where they will decide to pick one. If the team waits until the second or third round, one player they could consider is Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo came in right at the height threshold, just under 6'3" and around 220 pounds at the 2014 Senior Bowl, where the Jaguars got an up close look at the 2014 Walter Peyton Award winner. Coming off a week where he shined at the East West Shrine Game, Garoppolo had another solid week at the Senior Bowl. He finished his senior season throwing for over 5,000 yards and over 50 touchdowns.
Where Jimmy Garoppolo Wins
One of the first things you will notice when studying Garoppolo is his lightning quick release throwing the football. It's quick, it's compact and it's effortless. All three things are exactly what you want from an NFL quarterback in that regard. This quick release allows the ball to come out quickly when he makes a decision where to throw the football and it also lessens when he can be stripped of the ball while throwing.
Garoppolo's decision making is also quick and it isn't just as simple as a single-read and throw, like a lot of college offenses. You can see him going through progressions in his offense and even moving the pocket in order to create time and direct traffic to find an open man.
Garoppolo also has more than enough arm to make all of the NFL throws with adequate velocity. He has good touch on deeper routes, throwing a very catchable football. Garoppolo is also an adequate passer on the move and can pick up yardage with his legs when necessary.
He has a lot of experience in a fast-pace single to no-back offense, which helps him in hurry up situations and leans to why he's good at making quick decisions with the football. Garoppolo also does a good enough job moving in the pocket laterally when there is pressure.
Where Jimmy Garoppolo To Improve
While there is a lot to like with Garoppolo, there are also some flaws that will need to be fleshed out at the next level in order for him to become an NFL starter. The biggest issue is the fact that Garoppolo has a tendency to drift in the pocket rather than stepping up vertically when under pressure. This can lead to not keeping his eyes downfield and looking at the rush at times.
Playing in the offense he does, Garoppolo wasn't asked to make many anticipation throws though he displayed the ability to throw some during the post-season all-star circuit. His ability to do this on a consistently level is still a big question, however.
Garoppolo is also jittery in some of his movements, almost frenetic with his footwork. It may not mean anything, but it seems to lean to his sometimes feeling pressure and leaving the pocket unnecessarily. It hasn't been a problem to the point of it being a red flag, but it is an issue he's going to have to flesh out.
He also tends to force some throws in tight windows that he got away with at the FCS level, but the NFL won't be so forgiving. Garoppolo can make some of the tighter throws down the field, but his decision of when to do so will need to improve.
Overall I think Garoppolo will end up drafted sooner than he really should be. I have him around the fourth-round range because I think he can develop into an NFL starting quarterback, but that means it's very possible a team will snap him up in the second or third round, because quarterbacks tend to get over drafted. Garoppolo's quick release and decision making will make him a great prospect in some team's eyes, depending on the style of offense they run.
Grade: 5.75, mid-rounder, starter potential