Entering the East-West Shrine Game week, I listed Eastern Illinois senior QB Jimmy Garoppolo as my top NFL prospect in St. Petersburg and through a week of practice, that won't change. He showed off a NFL arm, excellent eye use to scan the field and an extremely quick and efficient release - all attributes he showed on tape. Garoppolo, who measured in at 6-2 and 225 pounds, isn't a flawless prospect and also has some areas he needs to improve.
Coming from a spread, shotgun offensive attack at the FCS-level, there are some transition questions, but Garoppolo will be able to further answer those concerns at the Senior Bowl, suiting up on the South squad under the direction of the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff. He currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9 overall quarterback and No. 3 Senior Bowl quarterback, behind Fresno State's Derek Carr and San Jose State's David Fales, who are both also on the Senior Bowl's South Team.
Here is Garoppolo's full scouting report:
STRENGTHS: Good, not great, height, body type and hand size…better than adequate arm strength with a snap release that produces some juice – live arm with his experience coming from a pass-happy offense…excellent passing vision with quick eyes to scan and a quick, natural delivery – gets the ball out quick…smart and executes the offense well – quick intellectual process on the football field…above average timing with little unnecessary movements…quick feet to evade pressure with the pocket mobility to move his lower body with his eyes focused downfield…gets “happy feet” at times, but shows the ability to reset…very good touch and overall placement with improved accuracy to all levels of the field throughout his career…level-headed and always under control with a strong leadership presence…confident thrower and short memory…elite career production as a four-year starter at the FCS level, including a record-breaking senior season (won the 2013 Walter Payton Award) – broke almost all of Tony Romo's school records and leaves the college ranks with 13,156 passing yards and 118 passing touchdowns in his career.
WEAKNESSES: Lack of elite velocity will show on some NFL throws…needs to continue to improve his decision-making and not allow pressure to severely alter his process – bad habit of forcing throws in small windows…lower-than-ideal release point with an almost side-arm motion at times…needs to get his feet under control on a consistent basis and regularly step into his throws…needs to continue and develop his pocket awareness and internal clock to feel pressure…holds the ball too long at times and will take unnecessary hits…experience is in a FCS spread, shotgun attack, needs to become more acclimated with under-center snaps.
SUMMARY: A late bloomer, Garoppolo didn't receive much attention as a high school recruit, but he became the starter at Eastern Illinois midway through his freshman season and steadily improved his play and production ever since. He culminated his career with a record-breaking senior season, operating from a mostly shotgun, spread attack with a lot of quick-strike throws (screens, slants, etc.). Garoppolo is a very efficient and smart passer with lightning quickness between the time he takes the snap, makes a decision and gets the ball out of his hand. He lacks elite arm strength, but is more than adequate in this area and isn't afraid to test small windows. Garoppolo is appealing as a next level quarterback because of his eye use, timing and overall intellectual process as a passer – will benefit from NFL coaching and should continue to get better, projecting as a future NFL starter within 2-3 years.
WHAT NFL SCOUTS ARE SAYING: “His delivery is the best I've seen in the last five years. He sees the field, makes the read and gets the ball out fast. Everything is a tick faster in the league so that efficient delivery is a big coup for his NFL future.” – NFC North Scout