The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made it known publicly that they’d like to see an upgrade at the quarterback position this offseason, via comments from Lovie Smith at the NFL Combine. But based on mock drafts, it’s unlikely that the team will have the option to select any of the top quarterbacks at the seventh pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
So as a part of their draft preparation, the Buccaneers have reportedly started the process of scouting a popular name from a small school.
JoeBucsFan.com is reporting that the Buccaneers have interviewed Jimmy Garoppolo twice this offseason, once at the Shrine Game and once at the NFL Combine.
It’s not unique for a team to interview a player, as some teams admit that they’ll speak to 75 percent or more of the draft class. But it is still worth noting when a team and a player meet multiple times, as it could be a sign that the team is strongly considering the prospect.
Garoppolo is a below-average sized 6’2″ 226 pound quarterback prospect from Eastern Illinois, who has average sized hands at 9 1/4″ according to Mike Loyko’s Combine spreadsheet. But he does possess some traits that stand out among other mid-round QB options.
According to BigCatCountry’s Alfie Crow, Garoppolo has a quick and easy release of the football, combine with an incredibly quick decision-making process. This is in stark contrast to Mike Glennon, and suits Jeff Tedford’s offense better. Getting the ball quickly into the hands of speedy playmakers will be a priority in the Buccaneers’ new offense, so this EIU graduate would suit that system well.
However, his small hands aren’t his only negative. His offense at EIU didn’t prepare him to make some of the tougher throws in the NFL, and he doesn’t have great pocket presence (again according to Crow’s draft profile). He’s not an ideal size, and he doesn’t have ideal experience, so he’s more of a project than a lock to be a star.
But if he’s available for the Buccaneers in the fourth round, he’d make a very intriguing option to compete with Mike Glennon in camp this summer. The Buccaneers apparently agree, because they’re begun the process of digging into who this young man is in the interview room to compliment their film work they’ve already done.