Jimmy Garoppolo put his skills on display for NFL teams at Northwestern’s Pro Day yesterday.
The 6’2″, 226-pound quarterback’s stock has been steadily rising throughout the latter portion of the college football season through to the Senior Bowl and scouting combine. Originally projected by most to be a 3rd or 4th-round prospect, scouts are more and more impressed as they watch Garoppolo throw with his effortless quick release, and he is now being projected as a more likely 2nd-round pick with the possibility of sneaking into the bottom of the 1st round.
Garoppolo’s showing at NU’s pro day probably didn’t do much to move the needle drastically in either direction on his draft stock. In fact, the biggest story coming out of the day has little to do with his performance, as media outlets have been focused on reporting that he had a private 45-minute throwing session with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports was one of those who had that story covered.
It also was reported by Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net that Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and quarterback coach George Godsey also had a private workout with Garoppolo.
When it came time for Garoppolo to work out in front of everyone (and it was reported that 31 of the 32 NFL teams were represented at the Pro Day) he was impressive, though not perfect. Yahoo reports:
In his 36 throws on Tuesday — 14 of which were scripted, the other 22 coming at the request of scouts — Garoppolo was mostly good. His short and intermediate accuracy was terrific, with every throw on target. His accuracy waned on a few deeper passes, including a 17-yard comeback route that wasn’t in the Panthers’ playbook.
“That one got away from me,” Garoppolo said. “That’s an NFL throw I wasn’t asked to make in college, but I have got to get it down. Otherwise, I thought I had a great day throwing it.”
Teams that were high on Garoppolo prior to his pro day likely didn’t find any reason to like him less, but they may not have found reason to like him more, either. He still projects as a likely 2nd-round pick, although the interest shown by the Texans adds an interesting wrinkle. If Houston decides not to go quarterback with the first overall pick it is possible that teams could find themselves wrestling with the decision to try and trade back up into the first round in order to land Garoppolo and block the Texans from taking him with the first pick in round 2.
Does that mean that the Browns would have to use the 26th overall pick if they wanted him? Or could it even make the Browns a potential trade partner for another team that wants to move up, which might be willing to offer a future 1st rounder plus their 2nd rounder this year to land Garoppolo? Would it be wise for the Browns to trade out of the 26th spot if they could acquire an extra 2nd round pick plus a 2015 1st-rounder, even if it meant missing out on Garoppolo?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Garoppolo becomes a huge storyline in the latter half of the first round of the draft.
Rob Magee is a lifelong Browns fan who suffered his most devastating punch to the gut when a friend recorded The Langoliers over his VHS copy of the 1993 Browns vs. Steelers game that featured two Eric Metcalf punt returns for touchdowns. You can follow him on Twitter @robisindy.