At the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots shocked the NFL by drafting Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with the 62nd overall pick in the second round. As the months led up to the draft, there was a budding hype surrounding the FCS quarterback and for good reason. Garoppolo had a ridiculous four-year career at EIU, which saw him throw for 13,156 yards, 118 touchdowns, 51 interceptions and complete on average 62.1 percent of his passes. In his senior season at Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo led the Panthers to their second-straight Ohio Valley Conference title and another FCS playoffs appearance. Garoppolo completed 66 percent of his passes for 5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions. Garoppolo had done it all and continued on his upward trend by participating in both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. Historically, those two All-Star games can help or hurt a draft prospect, but for Garoppolo it helped his stock as he was named the Offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. Coming out of EIU, Garoppolo was being compared to another EIU quarterback in Tony Romo. However unlike Romo, who was an undrafted free agent and rose to stardom, there was a higher expectation placed on Garoppolo as he was going to potentially replace Brady. However, it would take a long time for Garoppolo to actually see the field with New England. He played sparingly in his first two seasons, but at the same time there was no rush to get him on the field with Brady continuing to play at a high level. Nevertheless, the Patriots decided to flip the switch again, this time in the 2016 NFL Draft. New England drafted another quarterback, this time in the third round in North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett. The decision to draft Brissett was puzzling at the moment because everybody assumed Garoppolo was the guy. But then again, there was still question marks surrounding the FCS superstar heading into his third season. Some of those questions would get answered in the beginning of last season as Brady was serving a four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate. With Brady out for the first quarter of the season, it was time for Garoppolo to show the NFL what he was capable of accomplishing. In the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, Garoppolo did not do anything special but was efficient, completing 72.7 percent of his passes for 264 yards and a touchdown to help the Patriots win 23-21. Garoppolo ran the offense and did not turn the ball over, which is key for a young quarterback.
How the 49ers found gold in Jimmy Garoppolo
Yardbarker | Dec 22