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Aug 31, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) celebrates following a 40-18 win against the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft 2014: Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo could be a first-round pick

By now, you have heard the names of Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Johnny Manziel as some of the top quarterbacks in the nation, but there is one dark horse who is apparently rising in NFL circles that could be a surprise pick on draft day.

Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been receiving high praise recently, and one NFL scout has told Dane Brugler of CBS Sports that the signal-caller could be a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

When you look at Garoppolo’s stats on paper — 2,359 yards, 28 TDs and 4 INTs — it certainly looks like something that could catch the attention of NFL scouts, but the evaluation process goes far beyond the numbers.

Garoppolo is a guy that has an incredibly quick release and he’s not afraid to challenge defenses down the field.

He may not be a name that the casual fan has heard of, but it’s someone that you should begin paying attention to as he begins to build steam throughout the final stretch of the season.

For those wondering if Eastern Illinois has ever produced NFL talent, we remind you of two men — Tony Romo and Sean Payton.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Eastern Illinois Panthers Football Jimmy Garoppolo NFL Draft

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