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QB Watch: Jimmy Garoppolo


Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Blake Bortles have all been discussed as possible first-round quarterback prospects. *

But what if the Texans go another route? What if they don't select a quarterback at No. 1? What if Houston trades down for more picks later in the draft? QB Watch is an ongoing series looking at early and mid-round quarterbacks that could be a possible fit for the Texans.

Could Jimmy Garoppolo be a quarterback for the Texans?

Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's stock has been steadily rising since his MVP performance in the East-West Shrine earned him an invitation to the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Head coach Bill O'Brien has Garoppolo on his radar. On March 4, O'Brien paid a visit to Garoppolo's Pro Day, held at Northwestern and worked him out even before his Pro Day began.

Despite having the No. 1 overall pick, the Texans may find their quarterback outside the first round. O'Brien feels this year's draft is deep with quarterback talent, like Garoppolo.

"I think it's just being a quarterback coach, I think it's important to know that there are a lot of quarterbacks that are winners, that have played well," O'Brien said at the NFL owners' meetings last month.

The 6-foot-2, 226-pound quarterback has been working on his mechanics and footwork with several coaches, including former NFL quarterback Ty Detmer, at the Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles this offseason.

"He just broke down the game for me," Garoppolo said at the NFL Combine. "He taught me things about the game that I really had no clue until he explained it. Then you're like, 'Oh why didn't I think about that a long time ago?' Just how the fronts and the linebackers tie into the coverages, how different offensive formations dictate coverages. He worked with me in the pocket, getting me used to the three, five,and seven-step drop and he's done a great job with me, really."

Garoppolo hasn't gone unnoticed, with meetings scheduled for Cleveland, Tennessee, and Baltimore this month.

Browns hold private workout with Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo — Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 4, 2014

Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo is scheduled to make a pre-draft visit to the #Titans later this month. His stock is rising

— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) April 2, 2014

QB Jimmy Garoppolo worked out for #Ravens yesterday. #NFLDraft — Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 2, 2014

Garoppolo completed 375 of 568 passes (66 percent completion rate) for 5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and added for rushing touchdowns during his senior season at Eastern Illinois. He was named the top player in the FCS and won the Walter Payton Award after the Panthers 2013 campaign.

Garoppolo's appearances in the East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl helped him get noticed by NFL personnel. His decision to throw at the Combine, despite strong performances leading up to it, was another platform for him to showcase his skillset.

"The exposure really helps a small school guy like me," Garoppolo said. "It's tough for us to get our names out there. We're not always on ESPN and on TV and everything like that, so every little bit of exposure like that helps me and helps get my name out there. Playing well in both the games really helped me too throughout the week and everything and mentally helped me too. Just getting ready for that pro-style offense, that NFL style practice every week and all of that just adds up."

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