Name: Jimmy Garoppolo
Weight: 226 lbs.
School: Eastern Illinois
Strengths: Garoppolo has a very quick setup and release, with a smooth motion and compact delivery. He can read the field, make a quick decision and get the ball out all in rapid succession. Garappolo sees the field well, scanning the defense and making his progressions in an efficient and fast manner without rushing it when he has time. Does a good job getting rid of the ball and not taking foolish sacks. Garoppolo is very clearly willing to take a hit to deliver a pass. Garoppolo started for four years without any injury or durability concerns. While he showed touch on passes during games, in Mobile for the Senior Bowl he seemed unable (or unwilling?) to show anything resembling a touch. It may be that he was trying to prove the knock that he lacks good velocity on his ball is untrue, but it was something which surprised me. Garoppolo seems to have a short memory in games—if he makes a mistake, he doesn’t appear to dwell on it.
Weakness: As mentioned above, the touch I saw on game film wasn’t there in practices at Mobile. While I may think the issue was trying to prove that he had velocity (something he lacks a bit of on film), it’s a concern. Some of his velocity issues stem from a low release point and a somewhat awkward sidearm motion. While he is confident in his arm, he can be too confident, attempting to fit throws into windows which are too small. Definitely shows some cracks under heavy defensive pressure, where he will speed up his motion or make poor decisions. It’s very obvious on film—when he has a clean pocket he is very smooth and efficient, making impeccable choices, while under pressure all that can at times fade. His pocket awareness needs to improve, as does his footwork both setting to throw and during his throwing motion. He definitely feels pressure when it isn’t there and doesn’t trust his line when he needs to. While at Mobile, during footwork drills his foot frequency was a bit slow compared to Derek Carr (who he was grouped with). Garoppolo worked mostly in a shotgun, so he will need to work on being under center, though he progressed well with it in Mobile.
Intangibles: By all accounts, Garoppolo is a very smart, very dedicated player with a high football IQ. Talking to him at the Senior Bowl, I found him very smart and personable and observing him at practice you could tell he worked well with both coaches and other players. He was vocal when he needed to be, light when he wasn’t working and laser focused when he was.
Notes: Garoppolo is one of those prospects who pops up each year—a momentum builder nobody has on their radar in December, but has heavy buzz by March. With back-to-back great practice weeks at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, Garoppolo has made a lot of people go back and look at his tape. One of the biggest questions is whether he will be able to handle the higher level of competition in the NFL that he didn’t see weekly in the Ohio Valley Conference. He doesn’t have elite physical skills or attributes but makes the most of his tools with sharp decision making and timing. Of course, that makes concerns about how he reacts under heavy pressure even more focused because he lacks the elite tools to fall back on that an Andrew Luck or Tom Brady has. In the end, I believe this is a player who can adjust to the level of play and overcome his limitations, improving his reactions to pressure through good coaching and a solid supporting cast. As such, as much as I like him, I’d say a second round or late first round pick is as high as he should go and a team would be well served by being patient (if not sitting him) if they lack a good supporting cast. A team like the Houston Texans might be able to plug him in more quickly than a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars who lack playmakers in the offense.