Dec 13, 2013; Charleston, IL, USA; Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) during the game against the Towson Tigers at O

Where will Jimmy Garoppolo Land in 2014 NFL Draft?


It’s easy to get scared of a 2014 NFL Draft prospect because of his school. If you asked anyone if they wanted a quarterback from somewhere like Georgia or Eastern Illinois, the choice would probably lean towards the SEC guy almost 100% of the time, and deservingly so. What if we’re talking about Jimmy Garoppolo?

You probably don’t follow Eastern Illinois football very intently, (if you do, you know where I’m heading) but this impressive quarterback is someone to watch until May. Garoppolo is shredding the stereotype that small-school players are no good. All you have to do is turn on the tape, and you’ll see a future NFL player.

Coincidentally, Tony Romo also graduated from Eastern Illinois. To make things even stranger, Garoppolo plays a pretty similar game to the current Dallas Cowboy. I’ve been able to watch his tape intently… let’s just say if NFL scouts are seeing the tape the same way I am, they are going to love what he brings to the table.

All this kid needs are a few weapons, and he is going to make things happen with his great deep ball. The mechanics are there, the little things show up on tape, and there’s not much to dislike if you’re a quarterback-needy team. He dropped a few perfect passes in his game against Tennessee State—the game that was the final convincing piece of the puzzle to make me put him higher in my rankings.

The thing that makes him different than someone like Derek Carr is a somewhat unfair fact that he just doesn’t play great defenses. Where Carr puts up great numbers against Boise State, Garropolo plays teams like Jacksonville State. You can’t say that Derek Carr is leaps and bounds above Garropolo, but there has to be questions regarding his potential performance against great players.

I see a team investing a mid-round pick in the Eastern Illinois QB, but I find it hard to believe that he will start right away. With time, Garropolo is going to be a serious contender for a starting job in a few years. Don’t look away because of his school’s name; look closer because of this kid’s skills.

A team like the Arizona Cardinals would be someone to look at. After Carson Palmer, who starts for Bruce Arians’ team? Look for the Cleveland Browns or the Jacksonville Jaguars at the top of the second, assuming they go elsewhere in the first.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Featured Jimmy Garoppolo NFL Popular

  • bcrecka

    While the article is correct, that he didn’t play against premier defense, he did face two FBS schools in San Diego St and Northern Illinois. An NIU team that was highly ranked and one game from going to one the top four bowls. He shredded San Diego St. for 361 yds and 3 TD and absolutely torched NIU for 450 yds and 6 TDs! He can be the real deal in the NFL but believe he needs the right system to leverage his tools.

    • Joe Wedra

      Absolutely agree with you, he did some special things in college! It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Dcbos

    Shanahan Wash Redskins, Brad Childress Vikings, Shawn Payton New Orleans coachs, Tony Romo ,Todd Christianson, Jimmy Garrappolo all former Eastern Illinois Quarterbacks

  • Ken Tomlin

    Joe, I 100% agree with you, and I’m hoping the Vikings draft him! I’m from IL, and I’ve seen him play live 3 times this year. When I seen him play, he reminded me of Aaron Rodgers the year he was drafted. Needed to sit a yr or two to work out the rough edges, but once he did and got to sit behind Favre, well we see what he’s become!! Garoppolo could be the exact same way!! Hope the VIKINGS see the same things in him, that you and I do!

    • Joe Wedra

      Thanks for the comment and reading the article, Ken!
      Here’s hoping for a big future from Garoppolo!

  • Derek Dunn

    I am currently a student at EIU, having been here since the fall of 2012. What I fail to see is the author talking about the background of Jimmy’s success. I attended the majority of home games, missing very few. I would like to share with you my observations of EIU football and Jimmy:

    Before the start of the 2012 season, EIU was picked to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference. A new coach was hired by the name of Dino Babers. He came from Baylor, having been an assistant there for three/four years. Babers learned the Art Briles-style of offense while he was at Baylor, which is fast paced, no huddle and features an explosive offense. It’s fascinating how it works and can be complex. Jimmy learned how to command the offense very quickly and that is how he thrived and advanced so much. Babers said in a press conference that he would set the community of Charleston on fire, and by God…he did. The Panthers finished 7-5 overall, 6-1 in the OVC..winning the championship. Jimmy broke records and was a Walter Payton Award finalist, finishing tenth in voting. Not bad for a team that was picked to finish last in the OVC in the preseason.

    Next season would be full of high expectations. The Panthers were picked to finish first in the OVC and many fans saw the Panthers as a real power. There was so much hype built around campus and the Charleston/Mattoon area, that people were chatting about it constantly. After the Panthers beat the Aztecs, the message was sent out, “The hype is REAL”. The Panthers continued on from there. Almost defeating Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois and dominating the OVC, even beating Tennessee Tech who, when faced the Panthers for the first time, led other teams in the OVC and elsewhere in defensive stats…better than Jacksonville State. The Panthers finished 12-2 overall, as their season ended against Towson in the playoffs. Winning the OVC, finishing 12-2…what a season. Some of you may be shaking your head yes or no, but not every team finishes 12-2 and not every team makes it to the grand stage, let alone the playoffs. Sometimes, it takes a little fire and elbow grease to go a long way. Jimmy won the Walter Payton Award his senior year and he deserved it. He earned it.

    According to the fans/residents I’ve talked to that have lived here longer than I have, they have stated there was a fire in the area they have never seen before in YEARS. A thrill in the air…I think it united the fanbase. People would come from all over Champaign, Effingham, Terre Haute, Springfield, etc. just to watch Jimmy and the Panthers play. The Panthers were the #2 team in the nation and that garnered a lot of interest with the talk of the team and their accomplishments.

    I have met and talked to Jimmy before in person. Very nice guy off the field, high of character. He’s not full of himself, he thanks and praises his teammates, coaches, staff, fans…just a really cool guy overall. I will never forget Jimmy, Erik Lora, Alex Pierce, Dom, Houlihan and all the other seniors for what they accomplished on and off the field. I also thank Dino Babers who is now the head coach at Bowling Green University in Ohio and his staff for bringing Eastern football back to life. The future looks very bright.

    As for the draft, I believe Jimmy will be snatched in the second or third round. I predict he will go to New Orleans and Sean Payton (EIU alum). Drew Brees is 35 and will retire in a few years. I believe Jimmy will be a great backup QB when Brees is taking snaps, then after that…Jimmy can be turned loose and do his thing.