It’s no secret that the Browns have been looking at Jimmy Garoppolo these past couple weeks. The college draft class is notoriously bad this year and aside from an absurdly expensive option in Kirk Cousins, there isn’t going to be that much talent out on the free agent/trade market as far as quarterbacks go.
Enter Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Eastern Illinois alumni was drafted by the Patriots in 2014 and played incredibly well in the two games he played while Brady was serving his suspension. He put up a quarterback rating of 106.1 against the Cardinals and a rating of 135.4 against the Dolphins. Kessler and McCown are nowhere near those numbers, with the closest being the game Kessler had again the Patriots, where he threw eight passes and a touchdown (ending with a QBR of 126.0) before he got knocked out of the game with an injury.
Garoppolo has more than just the numbers going for him though. If you watch his game film he has excellent pocket movement and he didn’t make any big mistakes in his debut pair of games. His fundamentals and his mechanics are solid and he’s been learning under the greatest quarterback of all time for years now.
In the images above, Garoppolo sees the mismatch and knows he will have Bennett open against Kiko Alonso, so he looks off the safety long enough for the route to develop and then hits Bennett for his second touchdown pass of the game. That’s nothing fancy, but it’s an example of Garoppolo’s strong fundamentals.
It’s the fundamentals and potential the Browns have to look for, because they have one of the better quarterback coaches in Hue Jackson. In the above picture, Garoppolo quickly reads the zone coverage, finds the hole and hits his receiver. It’s a safe and basic throw, but he puts it right where it needs to be and he gets the first down. His pocket movement is also a major plus with him; put on his game film and watch the way he moves in the pocket. Brady is notorious for being nifty and mobile, so it makes sense that his protégé would develop similar traits.
Power Rankings: Who’s making a late-season push?
Winners and Losers:: The playoff picture narrows
There’s the obvious problems with picking up Garoppolo, the first of which would be the price tag. There’s also questions circling about his durability:
Grossi: Jimmy Garoppolo is a legitimate option for the #Browns but his durability is a question. Its far from a slam dunk he can win.
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) December 12, 2016
That said, desperate times call for desperate measures and Cleveland is desperate for a quality quarterback and there’s no Andrew Luck level quarterbacks in the draft. If Cleveland doesn’t get a quarterback this year it’s probably because they’re waiting on Baker Mayfield, the Oklahoma star and PFF highest ranked college football quarterback.
We’ll have to wait and see, but barring a dark horse quarterback emerging in the draft Garoppolo might be the best option for the Browns at quarterback.