New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Quarterbacks selected late in the second round of the NFL Draft usually doesn't generate buzz, but Jimmy Garoppolo's selection did Friday night.
The New England Patriots picked the Eastern Illinois signal caller with the 62nd selection overall as they perhaps look toward a future replacement for Tom Brady.
Garoppolo, winner of the 2013 Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the outstanding player in the FCS, signed this winter with the same agent as Brady, Yee and Dubin Sports. The Los Angeles agency also has a client in New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who played quarterback at Eastern Illinois.
"It's a real opportunity, a dream come true. I'm just excited about getting there," Garoppolo told Chris Mortensen of ESPN after his selection.
"I'm been looking up to (Brady) since I was a young kid since I started playing quarterback."
Garoppolo's selection is the highest the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Brady once famously displaced Bledsoe as the team's starter.
As a senior last year, Garoppolo led EIU to a second straight Ohio Valley Conference championship and into the FCS national quarterfinals. In 14 games, he completed 375-of-568 pass attempts for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns against only nine interceptions.
He threw for 13,156 yards - ranking seventh in FCS history - and 118 touchdowns during his career.
The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder is regarded as an intelligent decision maker with an extremely quick release, but lacks the arm strength of some of the other quarterbacks in the draft.
He was named offensive most valuable player at the East-West Shrine Game in January.
Five picks after Garoppolo, North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner went to the Miami Dolphins in the third round with the 67th overall selection.
Turner, who stands 6-5, 315 pounds, was the bulldozer at left tackle on North Dakota State's offensive line while the Bison won the last three FCS national titles. He started 56 of his 57 career games and did not allow a sack as a senior.
His father Maurice played five seasons as an NFL running back during the 1980s.
Two FCS running backs were selected late in the third round when the Cleveland Browns picked Towson's Terrance West 94th overall and Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon went two picks later to the Minnesota Vikings.
The physical workhorse (5-9, 223 pounds) led Towson to the FCS championship game last season and set FCS single-season records in rushing yards (2,509), rushing touchdowns (41) and total touchdowns (42). He scored 86 touchdowns in three seasons - only three below the four-year FCS record.
He entered the draft as a junior, but he's 24, having gotten a late start on his college career.
McKinnon played mostly an option quarterback at Georgia Southern but has converted to running back for the next level. The compact 5-9, 209-pounder tested highly at the NFL Combine.
As a junior in 2012, McKinnon rushed for 1,817 yards, including 316 in an FCS playoff game. He also helped Georgia Southern upset Florida in his final college game in November.