A former scout for the Philadelphia Eagles and current contributor for The Athletic, John Middlekauff, was a guest this week on the "No Huddle" podcast. During a lengthy discussion, he shared his thoughts on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who recently signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract to remain in San Francisco.

Middlekauff has a difficult time finding flaws in Garoppolo's game.

"He's accurate. He's athletic. He's got, clearly, a good enough arm," Middlekauff said. "That last game -- what? Did he throw a couple of picks against the Rams? But he didn't really have anything to lose. He's a really good decision maker, clearly understands the offense.

"I guess if you were nitpicking him, you'd say he doesn't have ideal size, but he's definitely big enough. And really, the knock is that he hasn't done it because he's only started seven games. It's not really his fault. He was drafted behind Tom Brady. No one would play. Aaron Rodgers would have sat too.

"I think the sky's the limit (for Garoppolo). I don't know if he will ever become Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but it's pretty clear he's going to be pretty damn good.

"I was hesitant to say maybe he had 'top-five ability' when they got him just based off the two games I saw in New England, but I thought he could definitely be a top-ten quarterback – better than [Kirk] Cousins and kind of that fringe eight, nine, ten guy. But I think he's even better than that after watching him, especially when you factor in Kyle [Shanahan], who's one of the best play-callers really of recent memory."



Middlekauff compared Garoppolo to other quarterbacks within the NFC West. He believes Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to be a future Hall of Famer.

With Arizona in search of an answer at the position, that leaves Garoppolo and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who had a break-out season in 2017.

Some were ready to declare Goff a bust following his five touchdown and seven interception rookie campaign, which consisted of seven starts. However, in his second year, the Rams quarterback flourished under first-year head coach Sean McVay. This past season, Goff passed for 3,804 yards, 28 touchdowns, and seven interceptions on his way to being named to the Pro Bowl (in place of injured Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz).

Middlekauff believes Garoppolo is even better than Goff.

"If you told me I had to choose between Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo for the next eight, ten years, I wouldn't even hesitate. I'd take Jimmy."

Podcast host Zain Naqvi asked Middlekauff how he sees Garoppolo's 49ers career progressing. Will he be able to step right in and continue where he left off this past season or will there be growing pains for the 49ers' new franchise quarterback?

"Obviously, from what we saw those last five games, if he did that (for) 16 (games), he's a Pro Bowl-level player," Middlekauff answered. "I think to sustain that, they're going to have to get better players on offense. Like, could he do that for a full season with Trent Taylor and George Kittle as his go-to options? Obviously, Pierre Garçon will be coming back. There are a ton of good tight ends in this draft. It wouldn't shock me if they took a guy high.

"Marquise Goodwin looked like Odell Beckham Jr. in the [five] games that Jimmy started. Is that sustainable? Maybe it is. Maybe it's just Marquise Goodwin would tell you, 'Well, I've never played with a good quarterback until now. I'm a 70-80 catch guy for a full season with that guy.' He might be right."

You can listen to the entire interview and the rest of the show here, from our dedicated podcast page, on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.