The Eagles will have an open competition this offseason but incumbent starter Nick Foles is a clear favorite in the battle for playing time. While Foles has proven he can play well when given the opportunity, the players currently behind him on the roster have little to no experience and have yet to prove they can handle playing in an NFL game. That is why the Eagles may be interested in adding a veteran free agent or a high-round draft pick to compete for the backup job.
If the Eagles are looking to address the position in Day 2 of the draft, Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo may be an interesting option.
A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Garoppolo stayed local and low key. He committed to Eastern Illinois, which allowed to him start eight games in his true freshman season. In his first year of play, Garoppolo completed 124-of-211 passes for 1,639 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also added a touchdown on the ground.
As a sophomore, Garoppolo started all 11 games for Eastern Illinois. He completed 217-of-349 passes for 2,644 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Garoppolo finished his junior season with a Ohio Valley conference record of 3,823 passing yard after completing 331-of-540 passes. He threw for 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also ran for two scores.
As a senior, Garoppolo shattered his yardage record and then some. He completed 337-of-518 passes for 4,729 yards, 51 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Garoppolo added a receiving and two rushing touchdowns to his senior totals. He also had a seven-touchdown performance against Illinois State.
Garoppolo was invited to the East-West Shrine Game where he won the Offensive MVP. This prompted him to get invited to the Senior Bowl as a replacement for A.J. McCarron. He measured in at 6-foot-2 1/4 and 219 pounds. However, he also had a small hand size of just nine inches.
Garoppolo seems to be built for the West Coast Offense. He loves the short and intermediate game. He trusts his receivers and will spread the ball around. He wants to get a first down on every play and it is clear from the tape that he is always looking downfield. He is a smart player that will notice when a receiver is being held and he will throw towards him to get a call. He is also willing to take risks and throw to covered targets. He gets good placement on his passes for the most part.
He also has a very good pocket mobility and seems to have a bit of quickness.
Garoppolo does not seem to have a ton of touch on his passes. He seems to throw bullets on long balls and has issues on tape throwing fades and jump balls. He needs to improve his footwork and perhaps this throwing mechanics, which seem to force him to throw awkwardly. That may have to do with his hand size, as his hands compared to the rest of the class are small. By comparison, Foles' hands are 10 5/8 inches which an inch and 5/8 bigger than Garoppolo's hands. Matt Barkley has 10 1/8-inch hands.
He also holds on to the ball for long periods of time to make plays open up, which leads to sacks. He has improved on his touchdown-to-interception ratio, but he does throw some pretty bad interceptions at times. He also comes from a pretty weak conference, where he was obviously the cream of the crop. That may dampen his college success to some evaluators.
The Eagles do need to add competition to the backup spot as Barkley and Kinne have not proven they can handle NFL games. Philadelphia is probably better served bringing in a veteran, but if they chose to go the draft route, it would probably be later in the selection process. It would be convenient if Barkley proves he can be the second guy, but he needs to battle to show that. Garoppolo is an interesting prospect, but it is hard to see Kelly loving him with tiny hands and lack of big school competition on his resume.
Trust Your Own Eyes
We will take a week break from the profiles next week, so we can recharge with Combine information. We will likely have 60-70 profiles by the time we get to the draft, so we are far from finished.