FOXBORO (AP) — The New England Patriots, casting an eye toward the future, selected Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with their second-round pick in the NFL draft last night.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be 37 in August and doesn’t appear near retirement, but Garoppolo, who says Brady is his favorite player, provides insurance at the position.
Garoppolo and Brady are represented by the same agent, but have not met.
Ryan Mallett is the current New England backup, but there have been reports he is on the trading block. Mallett has one year remaining on his rookie contract.
The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Garoppolo threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 2013. He also ran for four touchdowns and was the winner of the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in FCS.
Garoppolo, who had said that Brady was his favorite player in the NFL, was excited to be picked by the Patriots.
“Initially I was at a loss for words really, just excited to get out there,” he said. “The opportunity to play for such a successful organization, I couldn’t have pictured it any better.
“He (Brady) was always the guy I emulated my game after. It’s crazy being able to go to Boston and learn from Tom, learn from Coach [Bill] Belichick and all the coaches and all the players. It’s a great opportunity for a guy like me, a young player. I still have a lot to learn and I know that and I’m excited about it.”
When asked how he tried to model his game after Brady, Garoppolo said: “His poise in the pocket is so impressive. He really does a great job of taking control of the offense. He never really loses his cool. He’s always cool, calm and collected in the pocket and that’s what I try to do.”
The Pats traded out of the third round, sending the 93rd pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With that selection, the Jags picked Brandon Linder out of Miami.
In exchange the Patriots receive picks number 105 (fifth overall in the fourth round) and 179 (third overall in the sixth round). They now have three picks in both the fourth and sixth rounds.