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NFL New England Patriots

New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp Profile: Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady‘s current contract keeps him under center for the New England Patriots through the 2017 season. Who knows what happens at that point — Brady could retire, sign a new contract and stay in New England or sign with another team. That last one seems really unlikely, although it does happen (i.e. Joe Montana, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs at the end his career).

All of that is important because the Patriots used their second-round pick (62nd overall) in the 2014 draft to select Jimmy Garoppolo, a QB out Eastern Illinois. In his previous 14 drafts with the Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick had never drafted a QB that high. On Monday the Patriots signed the Ohio Valley Conference‘s male athlete of the year for 2013-14  to a four-year deal worth $3.3 million. Currently Garoppolo is third on the Patriots’ depth chart behind Brady and backup QB Ryan Mallet. The Patriots may still try to trade Mallet, who is in the last year of his deal, since they rarely carry three QBs on their roster.

Garoppolo started all 45 games he played in college and completed 62.8 percent of this passes. He threw for 13,151 yards and threw 118 touchdowns with 51 interceptions. He also had eight rushing touchdowns on 260 carries. He has a good arm, quick release and is really athletic. He has a smooth throwing motion and a compact delivery, is poised in the pocket and doesn’t take unnecessary sacks. He is level-headed, intelligent and has shown great leadership. Garoppolo is also good at selling play-action. However, he is undersized (which may not matter as much — hello Drew Brees and Russell Wilson) with small hands and short arms. In college Garoppolo worked primarily out of the shotgun in a spread offense, so he will have to adjust to working from under center. He also needs to work on his deep ball which he sometimes hangs.

Many people have compared Garoppolo to Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo mainly because both attended Eastern Illinois, but many of those comparisons go further than that. Garoppolo probably shouldn’t love that comparison — Romo has exactly one playoff win, and he is 1-3 in the playoffs and 0-3 in games where a trip to the postseason was on the line.

Others compare Garoppolo to one of his teammates in New England — Brady. Garoppolo should be much happier with that comparison and should feel fortunate for the opportunity to learn under one of the best QBs to ever play in the NFL. That being said, Garoppolo should want to be on a team where he has a chance to start. As long as Brady stays healthy (and history says he probably will as all Patriots fans knock on wood), Garoppolo won’t see the field for any meaningful time until the 2018 season at the earliest.

Garoppolo, who many have said is very coachable, does seem to be taking after Brady, showing leadership and quizzing his fellow rookies on the plays and their assignments. That kind of work ethic could go a long way towards Garoppolo starting in the NFL someday — whether that’s in New England or not remains to be seen.

Justin Patrick is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @calling_allfans, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.