Does Jimmy Garoppolo have any chance of obtaining significant time as a starting QB in the NFL? How big of a chance? Today we analyze his chances based on draft position, college performance, and NFL experience.
Jimmy was drafted with the #62nd overall pick. Recent (this century) AFCE quarterbacks selected in the draft with significant playing time in the NFL or selected in the top 100 picks include. #5 Mark Sanchez, #8 Ryan Tannehill, #16 EJ Manual, #22 JP Losman, #39 Geno Smith, #40 John Beck, #44 Pat White, #57 Chad Henne, #62 Jimmy Garoppolo, #74 Ryan Mallett, #94 Kevin O’Connell, #230 Matt Cassel, #250 (by Rams) Ryan Fitzpatrick, UFA Brian Hoyer.
Clearly only 50% of the QB’s selected in the 1st round earned significant multi-year starts and those selected at #200 plus worked out well but as a 2nd round pick Jimmy can only hope to be a Chad Henne or a Geno Smith and not a John Beck, Pat White, or Ryan Mallett.
—– With 2 out of 7 quarterbacks selected in the second round being considered “serviceable” or better we assigned Jimmy a 25% chance of doing the same.
Jimmy played quarterback for the Eastern Illinois University Panthers a Division 1AA or now FCS football program. Normally this small-school pedigree would produce low expectations as a Steve McNair, Kurt Warner, Joe Flacco, Rich Gannon, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzspatrick, and Tony Romo rarely come along. We do know that if you’re coming out of an FCS school you had better be one on the best quarterbacks the FCS has produced so we measure Jimmy against Tony Romo another alumnus of Eastern Illinois. Tony Romo became the first player in Eastern Illinois history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the top Division I-AA football player. He finished his career holding school records with 85 touchdown passes and second in school history with 8,212 passing yards and with 584 completions and 941 attempts. As a senior, he set school for completions with 258 in 407 attempts (63%) for 3,418 yards. Romo’s 3,149 yards in total offense as a senior ranked third in school history. Along with the Walter Payton Award, Romo earned consensus All-America honors.
Jimmy Garoppolo as a senior in 2013 broke all Tony Romo’s school records for career passing touchdowns, yards and passing. Garoppolo was a passing machine he threw for 5,050 yards with 53 touchdown passes and nine interceptions while completing 66 percent of his passes. All 32 NFL teams scouted him that year, with two general managers visiting him on campus. He also won the Walter Payton Award that season, which goes to the best offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision, and the 2013 College Football Performance FCS National Quarterback of the Year.
—– With Jimmy measuring up as the best of the FCS in 2013 and with Eastern Illinois producing some smart football people in former quarterbacks Brad Childress, Sean Payton, and Mike Shanahan we assign Jimmy a 50% chance of matching Tony Romo’s playing time.
The New England Patriots drafted Garoppolo as Tom Brady’s backup in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 62nd pick overall. So what have the other Tom Brady backups managed to accomplish? Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Mallett all remain active in the NFL in backup roles and have appeared in over 150 games with over 100 starts collectively. None of them have established themselves as “franchise” quarterbacks but all seem to be trusted as serviceable emergency choices.
If Jimmy Garoppolo were to be starting for a team other than the Patriots this season we could reasonably expect him to perform as his predecessors have and move on to a career as a trusted backup for whatever team needed one that year.
—–We assign Jimmy a 66% chance of finding significant starting chances matching him with Hoyer and Cassel and account for Ryan Mallet’s lesser opportunities.
So there you have it, Jimmy Garoppolo’s 47% average in our 3 areas gives him a roughly 50/50 chance of a long term career NFL quarterback as a backup and will start enough games to prove himself worthy of more if that’s the case. Our story and my article would have ended there had Jimmy been playing for any of the other 31 teams in the league but different rules apply to the Patriots.
In evaluating Jimmy Garoppolo’s short term future you first have to ignore any comparisons having anything to do with other teams. We are not concerned with what the Harvey Ball Slingers or any other team would try to do we’re talking about the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick here. It’s well known that Belichick gets the most production possible and takes advantage of any chance he is given with a particular player. Taking the average of a players chances may be legitimate formula for a player on an average team but on the Patriots the chances are cumulative and with Garoppola this works out to 25% + 50% + 66% for a 141% chance of success.