Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo comes from a small school but he’s trying to make a big name for himself in the NFL.
Garoppolo, along with a handful of other Northwestern seniors, participated in a Pro Day in Evanston in front of 31 scouts from around the NFL. Two head coaches, Texans’ Bill O’Brien and 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh, also came to Northwestern’s campus to watch Garoppolo workout. Harbaugh even brought the Eastern Illinois’ quarterback aside to throw with him personally.
“We were back there slinging it around,” Garoppolo said. “He can still throw it pretty well for being the ex-quarterback and all. But it went well. I learned a lot from him. He’s teaching me little things here and there.”
For the most part, coaches and scouts in attendance tried to pick Garoppolo’s brain on coverages and his reads in the pocket. But the former Panthers’ quarterback wants to prove he’s got the physical tools as well to play at the next level.
“I’m coming out here just trying to show my athleticism, showing I can move in the pocket, make all the throws they ask me to do,” he said. “Overall, just be a well-rounded quarterback.”
Along with Garoppolo, Mike Jensen, Damien Proby, Tyler Scott, Will Hampton, Rashad Lawrence and Jeff Budzien also participated as well for the Wildcats. Kain Colter did not workout because he's recovering from ankle surgery. He's schedule to have his own Pro Day in mid-April.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald told his graduating seniors to prepare for this workout just like they would a game.
“Treat is just like any other game,” Fitzgerald said. “Basically anyway the NFL tries to describe it to us, Pro Day or Combine, is just like a one game evaluation so do your best and have fun with it.”
Fitzgerald admitted during his time, there wasn’t as much emphasis placed on the workouts as there was on how they played during games. Now, 40-yard dashes and bench presses are the new deciding factors to whether a prospect is ready for the NFL. The old-school former linebacker isn’t buying that theory.
“You’ll see kids look really, really good in shorts,” he said. “But the tape doesn’t lie. That’s the great thing about football. It’s not a game played in shorts. It’s a game played in pads.”