ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Although the first day of practice is typically sloppy with a lot of walk-through as players become acclimated to a new setting, coaches and teammates, there were several prospects who stood out on day one of Shrine Game week, starting with the quarterbacks on the East Squad.
Cornell's Jeff Mathews had a middling senior season and entered this week as a prospect under the microscope. In Monday's east practice, he started slow, but picked up steam and got into rhythm with as the drills progressed, showing off his big arm and downfield vision.
Mathews displayed good placement, accuracy and anticipation, something that he flashed in college, and he gained confidence throughout the practice. His set-up, release and overall process is average at best, but he has the superior arm strength compared to the other passers in St. Petersburg this week.
While he doesn't have the arm strength of Mathews, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo showed off what he does well on Monday. He was quick in his set-up, delivery and timing to quickly scan the field and get the ball out of his hand before the rush reached him.
Garoppolo doesn't have an elite arm, but he snaps off better velocity than expected with touch to give his receivers a catchable ball. Different teams will prefer Garopollo's style, while others will lean toward Mathews, but both had a positive first day.