FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots are looking toward the future. With the 62nd pick of the NFL draft, they selected Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to back up Tom Brady.
The Patriots had tried to dismiss any claims that they were looking more closely at quarterbacks despite reportedly visiting with 12 quarterbacks this offseason. Garoppolo was one of those the Patriots had met with.
He was the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner and the FCS ADA offensive player of the year. In 14 games in 2013, he threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns, completing 66 percent of his throws and throwing only nine interceptions. He’s 6-2 and 226 pounds.
"I can't imagine a better situation," Garoppolo told a National TV audience. "It's a dream scenario."
From watching tape of Garoppolo, the FCS quarterback has a phenomenally accurate deep ball and is money outside the numbers. He comes in at a time when the Patriots have reportedly sought a trade for backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, whose contract expires after the 2014 season. He'll backup Brady, 36, for at least four years. Brady's contract runs through the 2017 season.
At No. 62, this is the highest the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since Drew Bledsoe was picked first overall in 1993. He is the eighth quarterback selected by the Patriots under Bill Belichick's helm.
Garoppolo also shares an agent with Brady. He told his school's athletics website in April that he had a cool experience when he got to meet Brady on an official visit.
"He was coming into the facility," Garoppolo said. "It was a really cool experience. He was one of the guys I looked up to as a childhood idol growing up, so there was a little bit of the shock aspect there. Just like my agent had told me, Tom Brady is a really cool, down to earth guy."