Right now every NFL team is performing their due diligence when planning roster improvements. Coming up shortly are two opportunities to acquire players though Free Agency and the Draft. This year’s scouting combine began with franchises meeting collegiate prospects. Various reports always link certain parties but should be taken lightly.
Sometimes however, these gatherings mean something. Multiple media outlets state that the New York Jets spoke to Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Looking at his numbers, this player enjoyed a stellar collegiate career. Throwing 84 touchdowns the last two seasons is mind boggling. His pocket presence looks solid with quick release and good mobility. Garoppolo demonstrates solid and enough arm strength to make plays. All of these attributes are great. He seems like a viable prospect, but there exists at least one red flag.
Being that he plays in the FCS means that competition mostly lacks compared to that of FBS teams. There is something to be said for having talent, though. Several years ago Gang Green thought they were getting a superstar in Mark Sanchez. Sanchez shined during one year as a starter at USC but ultimately stumbled with New York. Regardless of playing field, it is impossible to know for sure how someone will perform at the next level.
Dallas Cowboys‘ quarterback Tony Romo also came out of Eastern Illinois in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. Although Romo often struggles during big moments, he is a very good player. Jets QB Geno Smith’s career has yet to play out, but competition will arrive. Gang Green should go through both channels to bring in others. Many projections suggest a third-round grade for Garoppolo. I still prefer Aaron Murray and perhaps Zach Mettenberger, but this small-school product does provide intrigue. Again, questions about quality of opponents may scare some organization away. He potentially could push Smith for the starting job; however this is also a possible developmental project.