By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — Two local college stars will be popular at this week’s East-West Shrine Game, but for different reasons.
Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has intrigued NFL scouts all season and they’ll be watching him closely during the pre-draft process to determine if his impressive career at the FCS level can translate to the NFL level.
Meanwhile, scouts will also have their eyes on Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch, who just wrapped up an impressive quarterbacking career at Northern Illinois. But it appears scouts have already made up their mind about Lynch as an NFL quarterback and instead think he can have a successful pro career at a different position.
According to Bucky Brooks from NFL.com, it appears “Lynch is destined to make a position change at the next level.”
“He simply lacks the passing skills to excel in a pro-style offense, making him a long shot to earn more than a free agent look as a quarterback,” Brooks writes.
So where do scouts envision Lynch playing?
At 6-0, 216, running back makes a lot of sense, mainly because Lynch has proven he’s a scoring threat with the football in his hands. But according to Brooks, some scouts envision Lynch as a safety.
That information is sure to excite Bears fans who also enjoyed watching Lynch at Northern Illinois. Of course, it doesn’t mean the Bears view Lynch as a safety, but they did scout the former NIU quarterback this fall and, like other teams, will be watching him closely this week in St. Petersburg, Fla.
As for Garoppolo, quarterback isn’t as great of a need for the Bears after they re-signed Jay Cutler earlier this month, but that doesn’t mean they won’t use a late-round pick on a quarterback they can groom as a backup and possible replacement for Cutler down the road. Whether or not Garoppolo fits that mold will depend on how scouts view him. If the quarterback shoots up draft boards, it’s unlikely he’d end up in Chicago, as the Bears have more important needs to address — particularly on defense — earlier in the draft. But if Garoppolo is available later in the draft, it can’t be ruled out.
Welcome to the NFL Draft season. The fun has only begun.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.