Every year, certain QBs rise up the draft boards as scouts are given the opportunity to consume more of their game film. Jimmy Garoppolo is this year's version of that quarterback. Garoppolo is now the 5th ranked QB on Mel Kiper's board, ahead of more highly touted talents AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger. He's not considered a threat to be drafted in the first round, as most pundits see him as a high upside Day 2 selection.
While he went relatively unheralded at Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo opened eyes by shattering all of Tony Romo's school records and many scouts believe he is further along in his development than Romo was at the same age. Against more talented programs such as San Diego State and BCS participant Northern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo still shone. He shredded the Aztecs for 361 yards and 3 TDs in a 21 point drubbing, and in a nail biting loss against NIU, threw for an impressive 450 yards and 6 TDs.
What has scouts most impressed is that Garoppolo has an extremely quick release, vital in today's NFL. In addition, his superior field vision and ability to throw to a spot and not need to see the receiver open first (a common knock on Johnny Manziel, for example) has many pundits declaring under no uncertain terms that he will be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. No less an authority than Charlie Casserly, former GM of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, has proclaimed that Garroppolo has the best tape of any QB prospect in this year's draft.
Bill O'Brien has a well deserved reputation as a "quarterback whisperer", having been credited for his work with Tom Brady and for turning Matt McGloin into a starting caliber NFL QB. He's on record as saying there is very little separation between this year's crop of quarterbacks, and most agree there is no Andrew Luck in this year's draft.
Considering there is no surefire QB prospect this year, I believe the prudent move for Houston is to use a later pick on a high upside project like Jimmy Garoppolo, and grab Jadeveon Clowney with the #1 pick. Case Keenum showed signs of promise last season and can serve as a placeholder while Garoppolo seasons under O'Brien's tutelage. Meanwhile, Clowney and JJ Watt would form a tandem on the front four that would become a nightmare for offensive coordinators. Watt already commands regular double teams, which would free up Clowney and Brian Cushing to live in opposing backfields for years to come.