The New England Patriots have a new potential quarterback of the future -- once Tom Brady is gone -- after selecting former Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 62 in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Garoppolo was one of the biggest risers during the pre-draft process, going from a relatively unknown small-school prospect to one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class.
Hailing from the same school as Tony Romo, Garoppolo began to make a name for himself with an excellent showing at the East-West Shrine Game. He continued to impress at the Senior Bowl, where many lauded him for his excellent mechanics and quick release. The strong showings helped vault him up draft boards.
Garoppolo authored a prolific college career at Eastern Illinois, culminating with his senior season during which he threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns while winning the Walter Payton Award. He set the school record for completions and broke Romo's career records for touchdowns and yards. He also topped Romo's record for most passing touchdowns in a season. Naturally, Garoppolo has drawn comparisons to Romo as a player.
"The Romo comparison? It was almost in every conversation I've had with NFL coaches," Garoppolo said, via USA Today. "Our styles are very similar, athletic guys in the pocket who make and extend plays."
Garoppolo was the No. 83 overall prospect on SB Nation's top 200 big board, which made him the seventh-best quarterback overall.
Weight: 226 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.97 seconds
Vertical jump: 30.5"
Broad jump: 9'2
3-cone drill: 7.04 seconds
20-yard shuffle: 4.26 seconds
Garoppolo impressed during this offseason, from the Senior Bowl to the NFL Scouting Combine to his pro day. He measured well in every significant drill for his position, but drew the admiration of scouts for his intangibles more than anything. He's known for solid footwork, good ball placement and, above all else, his excellent release. He was pegged as the player with the fastest release coming out this year, and that was evident in workouts.