Bernstein: Jimmy Garoppolo Remains A Mystery

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be the subject of rumor and speculation until he’s finally traded to a team still lacking at the position that sees in him something more promising than what’s available in the draft. With Tom Brady still obviously able and the former second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois set to be a free agent after this season, Garoppolo’s value would seem to be at a sell-high point for New England.

The 49ers, Browns, Bears and Jets have all had reported interest, but there’s still a wide range of assessments of Garoppolo’s talent, due to his small statistical sample size and overall lack of playing time in three seasons. Two experts weighed in Tuesday on 670 The Score, each describing a tantalizing and potentially reasonable risk.

A veteran scout and the lead NFL Draft analyst for Bleacher Report, Matt Miller was asked where Garoppolo would be picked if he were hypothetically available for selection this year.

“I would guess he’d be right there with Mitch Trubisky as the best quarterback in this draft,” he said. “I really like him, like 16th overall. I’d say that’s about fair.”

Miller went on to compare and contrast him with all the top prospects at the position.

“He and Trubisky are a bit alike,” Miller said. “About the same size, both with good mobility to get out of the pocket, pretty good arm — not great. The thing with Garoppolo is his mechanics are better than all these guys. Trubisky is such a back-foot thrower, there’s some Blake Bortles stuff to his game. And you watch DeShone Kizer and he can be tremendous with ball placement and anticipation and then he can be awful. And Deshaun Watson can throw 30 picks in two years, a lot of them outside the hashes on NFL throws, and he’s small.”

“All that scares me. The ceilings might be high with all these guys, but Garoppolo is ready to come in and play right away.”

Pro Football Weekly executive editor and 670 The Score football expert Hub Arkush was reporting from Houston during Super Bowl week, and he had the latest on the situation from multiple conversations with coaches and executives around the league.

“I have talked to a number of people who think the Patriots like Jacoby Brissett as much or more as Garoppolo,” he said. “Most likely, if the offer is right, he gets dealt.”

But then came some information that might give pause to those clamoring for him.

“What was interesting to me was talking to a few GMs and scouts who said ‘You know, I don’t love Garoppolo,’” Arkush said. “A lot of people believe that he’s another guy like Matt Cassel in that system or maybe a Nick Foles, who had the one year with Chip Kelly, or even RGIII with that rookie year in Washington, and that it’s possible Garoppolo could turn out to be just another guy and you don’t want to mortgage the future on him”

And when it came to a relative evaluation against the backdrop of this year’s draft, Arkush summed up his picture of current sentiment among NFL teams.

“The majority like Garoppolo, but there’s a strong segment of people who don’t think he’s proven anything,” he said. “They have tremendous doubts as to how much better of a prospect he is than the first three or four quarterbacks in this draft.”

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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