As the quarterback who knocked Tony Romo off the top of a few all-time record lists at Eastern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo has fielded more and more questions about how he measures up with the Dallas Cowboys quarterback as the 2014 NFL Draft draws closer. But rather than being put off the comparison, one of the draft's fast-rising prospects is happy to have his name attached to Romo's.
"He set the standard. It's up to us and the Eastern quarterbacks and all of the guys who go through there to live to that standard, really. That's what I tried to do when I was there. There's a benchmark set," Garoppolo told dallascowboys.com. "I want to live up to that. I want to surpass that, really. Every quarterback should have that mindset. You want to be the best. You want to go win Super Bowls."
Romo was an underdog himself as a prospect, making the Cowboys' roster in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. More than 200 touchdown passes later, he's surpassed all initial expectations. The chance that Romo could end up grooming Garoppolo in Dallas would be a made-for-TV story. Perhaps Dallas would be a decent fit for Garoppolo. Romo is 33, and has absorbed over 100 sacks the last three seasons. His backup, Kyle Orton, is 31. If the time isn't right for Dallas to spend a high pick on an elite quarterback, it might at least be right to spend a later one on a young hopeful.
Like Romo was in '03.
Garoppolo, for his part, will bring confidence to whatever club sends his name to the draft-day podium.
"They're getting a very passionate, hard-working quarterback -- some guy who's going to be the CEO of the company and lead by example," he said. "The quarterback's always asked to set the example on and off the field, and I think I do a good job of that."