Video: Evaluating the Bucs’ Pre-Draft Visits: Jimmy Garoppolo

The NFL Draft is less than a month away and the Bucs have been busy bringing in prospects, including quarterbacks. We’ve already talked about Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr, which leaves Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois.

Garoppolo wasn’t on many people’s radars early on in the pre-draft process, but a big week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game, followed by a solid performance during Senior Bowl week (he got an invite thanks to A.J. McCarron’s decision to bow out) and suddenly scouts and talent evaluators are touting him as one of the hidden gems in this draft.

His most impressive quality is his quick release and his ability to make fast decisions. The ball jumps out of his hand quickly, and he’s got plenty of juice on it. His accuracy is also impressive. In 2013, he threw for 5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns and just NINE interceptions. That’s a heck of a touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Of course the knock on him would be the level of competition he played in, but he dominated it, becoming the NCAA offensive player of the year at the FCS level, and smashing all of Tony Romo’s school records.

As mentioned with Carr, Garoppolo is more among the second-tier quarterbacks in this draft class versus the top-tier guys — Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. But that could work in the Bucs’ favor, particularly in regards to first-year general manager Jason Licht.

It’s sort of an unwritten rule, but it’s generally acknowledged throughout the NFL. If a GM drafts a quarterback with the seventh-overall pick, he’s essentially tied to that player throughout his tenure. His success or failure as a GM will be tied to that pick.

A quarterback drafted seventh-overall is also expected to start that first year, whereas a second or third-round guy gets the benefit of at least a few games, possibly even a year or two of seasoning.

And hey, guess what? Josh McCown is on a two-year deal, and will be 35 when training camp starts, so he’s not a long-term answer at quarterback. The Bucs might be able to find one in this draft if they play their cards right.