Three months before the 2014 draft, Jimmy Garoppolo was in Indianapolis. (NFL.com)
The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine is set to get underway this Tuesday, with specialists, offensive linemen and tight ends reporting to Lucas Oil Stadium. And after pre-registration, medical examination, orientation and interviews, other prospects at other positions will join them.
On-field workouts will follow.
Head coach Bill Belichick and members of the New England Patriots staff will be on hand in Indianapolis to take note of each one. And while the measurements the Patriots collect from there will not the end-all, be-all to evaluations, they will be pieces to the puzzle.
They were just that in forming New England’s 2014 rookie class. And in turn, here is a look back on how future Patriots fared last February, with videos courtesy of National Football Fans.
Jimmy Garoppolo stepped in for the second half against Buffalo. (NFL Game Rewind)
Jimmy Garoppolo entered Week 17 having gone 9-of-10 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown over his first five NFL games. He left it having gone 19-of-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown over his first six.
The second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois hadn’t thrown a pass since Oct. 26 against the Chicago Bears, in a game that was a 25-point New England Patriots lead by the time he entered it in the fourth quarter.
Garoppolo had only entered to kneel down and hand off in the two months since then. But the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner would get throw the ball again on Dec. 28. And he would get to run with it, too.
It was an 11-point Buffalo Bills lead at the start of the third when the 37-year-old Tom Brady traded in his helmet and the 23-year-old rookie stepped in. The fourth-ranked Bills defense, holding opposing quarterbacks to a 74.9 passer rating and leading the league with 50 sacks, awaited him.
Only they did more than wait.