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At first glance, the timing was awkward.
Jacksonville Jaguars Gene Smith had just moved up to the No. 10 overall selection in the NFL Draft at the cost of the team’s second round choice, a steep price to take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The move for a QB in Jacksonville has been discussed before, yet the imcumbent starter David Garrard is coming off perhaps his best season. Why pull the trigger on a player when two high caliber defensive players could be taken with those picks?
Yet it’s the ceiling of Gabbert that had Smith and his staff so ecstatic – with visions of quarterback play that Garrard simply doesn’t seem capable of. Even after a season with a 90.8 rating and a career high in completion percentage (64.5%) and touchdowns (23), the team won eight games with Garrard at the helm. Over the last three seasons, Garrard has started 46 games and won 20.
After Garrard’s last season, he’s certainly continuing to mature and see the field better, so the team’s lack of success isn’t his mantle to bear. Yet Garrard’s also never been mistaken for an elite QB in the making, and Jacksonville knew it. It needed a new face, a new vision for success at the position. And that’s what had player personnel director, Terry McDonough so effusive in his praise in a recent interview with The St. Augustine Record.
“If you get the guy and you believe he is the guy and he is the guy, tremendous things can happy for this organization and this city, and I feel that way about this kid. We did it (traded up to get him) because organizationally we thought this guy had limitless potential and we were so excited to get him. I’m not trying to act giddy but the guy is a stud.’’
Yet the beauty of the choice is that Gabbert can sit and watch a veteran quarterback coming into his own. Even if Jacksonville decides the future is now at some point this season (or beginning in 2012), Garrard’s stock should be plenty high enough to secure a starting gig in the NFL, and likely he will have a choice of a few places with the number of quarterback needy teams.
For Gabbert, the waiting is a part of the process — just ask Aaron Rodgers. Some quarterbacks get thrown in, but with so much riding on this draft class and this choice in particular, expect the Jags to be patient. Big Cat Country, SB Nation’s Jaguars blog, had great insight into reasons Gabbert would sit this season in a recent post:
With the loss of mini-camp and the likely loss of OTA’s, it puts Blaine Gabbert at a severe disadvantage and makes his already steep learning curve that much sharper. Not only that, but sometimes when you throw a rookie into the fire it can damage them permanently. David Carr started before the team was ready for him for the Houston Texans and took 76 sacks his rookie season. Carr became shell-shocked and was never able to recover. He developed a habit of sensing phantom pressure. While the Jaguars offensive line isn’t the Texans line circa “Murder David Carr” era, it gave up 38 sacks last season.
It’s that last comparison that Gene Smith and his staff will avoid at all costs. They already have a quarterback with a supposed limited ceiling in Garrard. If they truly believe Gabbert could take them to the next level, then they’ll handle with care at all costs.
Keep tabs on Gabbert's season and the Jags in general over at Big Cat Country.
The pressure surrounding Jack Del Rio was already palpable, but when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the temperature on the head coach’s hot seat went even higher.
Win or else is the mantra for Del Rio, and he realizes that it should be. He recently told the Florida Times-Union:
“That’s what I’m about; that’s what motivates me. I’m not motivated by the fear of hanging on to this job. … And that’s not to say I don’t appreciate and respect the position that I’m in. I’ve said it time and time again that I consider it an honor and a privilege to be in this position, but my motivation comes from pursing a championship. If you want to hang on for another year and continue to be at a certain level, that’s not what we’re after.”
Del Rio should already sense this mounting pressure outside of the team drafting a rookie quarterback instead of help in the secondary or along the defensive front. In eight seasons, Del Rio has a .508 winning percentage with one playoff win to his name. His teams have run the gamut from five wins (twice) to 12, but generally maintain a .500 record. In a loaded AFC South where the Indianapolis have reigned supreme, that just won’t cut it.
Yet pressure typically finds a release, so there’s a chance Gabbert starts early. After all, the person feeling the pressure transfers it to someone under them — namely from a head coach to a quarterback. That could be frustrating for a rookie like Gabbert being thrown into the lion’s den. The obvious best case scenario for Gabbert is a successful season for the Jags and Del Rio, allowing David Garrard to mentor Gabbert and an Aaron Rodgers-like succession to the throne.
Another year like last season’s 8-8 finish won’t stand in Jacksonville, so Gabbert should be prepared for an earlier start than what he might initially be told. The price paid by the Jags to move up in the draft started with a first and second round pick. In the end, it could cost them a head coach as well.
The commonly held belief was that Blaine Gabbert was a top tier quarterback. Technically, that’s still true with the Missouri quarterback being taken in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, but the steps taken to this point have been anything but predictable. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the pro level home for Gabbert, a team that already has a solid quarterback option in place compared with so many other teams with tremendous voids at the position. Then again, when you have a chance to grab the franchise option at quarterback, you take it.
Gabbert was predicted to head anywhere in the Top 5 for most of the pre-season, including a possible No. 1 overall choice for Carolina. Recent days led to speculation at No. 7 to San Francisco or even later to the Vikings at No 12 or Dolphins at No. 15. The Jags sat at No. 16 overall, so they were never really considered as an option. With Garrard in place, it’s adds further to the questionable nature of the trade. Yet Gabbert’s talent clearly struck GM Gene Smith.
Even more interesting is the team they traded with: the Washington Redskins. The Skins clearly have a need at quarterback with the failure of Donovan McNabb last season. While it’s known that the Skins want to recoup some of this year’s lost draft picks, to have a possible answer at quarterback falling to No. 10 is a scenario they should have went with. Apparently Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen weren’t convinced of Gabbert’s long term talent — showing the very volatile nature of NFL draft boards team by team.
In the end, Gabbert said he was just honored to play in the NFL, and Jacksonville provides a low-pressure scenario with a savvy veteran already in place so Gabbert can learn the game. It’s a win-win scenario for Jacksonville even if was unexpected. As for Washington, who knows what’s going on in the nation’s capital?
With the selection of Cam Newton as the official No. 1 selection in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert now becomes the top rated quarterback on the board of every NFL expert and, assumedly, most NFL teams. This also means the fun begins for the intrigue of the draft.
The much rumored selection of Newton had a lot of drama surrounding it even a couple of weeks ago, but recently it was clear the Panthers had zeroed in on their guy. This leaves Denver and Buffalo sitting at possible trade slots if a team becomes intense in their search for a quarterback. Then again, a team like Buffalo can sit and take Gabbert for their own sake.
The Redskins and Vikings and Dolphins are all supposedly interested in getting a quarterback, and don’t forget teams with lower picks like the Seattle Seahawks or even the second-round Oakland Raiders. With several teams needing help at the most important position on the team, it won’t be a surprise if some team makes a move to grab Gabbert.
The best things come to those who wait. That might be exactly what happens for new head coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers when it comes to the draft stock of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. With so many quarterback needy teams in the top of tonight’s first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the proposition seemed ridiculous in recent weeks. Yet that’s exactly what ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes might take place in just a few hours.
Ultimately, it’s less about Gabbert’s falling stock or great questions surrounding his game than it is about the great defensive talent available in this year’s draft. Patrick Peterson is a surefire shutdown corner, a highly valuable commodity in the pass-happy NFL. The same can be said for great pass rushers, and names like Von Miller and Marcel Dareus are taking up spots on draft boards that Gabbert might occupy in another given year. As Kiper explains:
While Jim Harbaugh has taken the dignified route and stated how much he wants to work with Alex Smith, I think it’s pretty fair to assume the Niners will be looking for a long-term solution for their new coach. Harbaugh’s track record says he should have confidence he can turn Gabbert’s solid skill-set into something at the NFL level. Like Newton, this isn’t a quarterback you want starting games in 2011, but if San Francisco is patient, Gabbert is a player it can build with.
That last part I would disagree with, given that no one seems to sit a rookie quarterback anymore. The new way to solve quarterback issues is to throw them at the wall like pasta and see what sticks — that’s what happened last year in Carolina and Arizona. Even late round rookie picks like John Skelton, Tony Pike, Joe Webb and Rusty Smith saw immediate action. If San Fran selects Gabbert, you have to believe he’ll see plenty of action in 2011.
Who will pick QB Blaine Gabbert?
That's getting harder and harder to figure out. Previously I thought this was down to the Cincinnati Bengals with the fourth pick or the Arizona Cardinals with the fifth pick. Now there are some smart folks predicting this will not happen. The Bengals could go with WR A.J. Green instead and the Cardinals could hit up the top corner in the draft CB Patrick Peterson.
In the last week, Gabbert has gone from a sure-fire top five pick to probably a top 10 pick, maybe a top 15 pick. It's been strange.
After the fifth pick, I could see him being picked up by the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh pick or Tennessee Titans with the eighth picks. I could also see the Washington Redskins taking him with the 10th pick.
I can't see him falling out of the top 10, though. He's a solid quarterback prospect and, because he has the intangibles, there will be some head coach along the way who believes he can develop him.
If Gabbert falls out of the top five, which I'm not convinced he will, I can see the 49ers selecting him and I think that would be a great spot for him.
The 2011 NFL draft is barely a day away and we're not sure where QB Blaine Gabbert will go. Most 2011 NFL mock drafts have had him in the top five for the last couple of months. With the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals potentially needing a quarterback, that made the most sense. This is all assuming QB Cam Newton goes No. overall to the Carolina Panthers.
But in the past few days some are predicting could slip -- possibly even out of the top 10. Pat Kirwan of NFL.com had him falling all the way to the Miami Dolphins with the 15th pick, which is almost unimaginable considering where he's been projected to go in the past couple of months.
There are more than a few people who now believe he could fall to the bottom of the top 10 or even out of the top 10 completely.
I'm not sure I buy that.
There are six teams that could use a quarterback in the top 10 -- Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Titans and Redskins. One of those teams will roll the dice on Gabbert. With the NFL lockout there's no other way to improve your roster (at least for now) so the draft is your best bet at securing a quarterback. Gabbert is one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft.
Look for him to stay in the top 10 on April 28.
Early on, it seemed that Blaine Gabbert’s prototype size and high ceiling at the key position of quarterback cemented him as a possible No. 1 overall choice in the NFL Draft. Now, some draft writers are wondering just how far the Missouri quarterback might end up falling.
Several mock drafts still have Blaine Gabbert listed in the top five selections with so many quarterback needy teams sitting atop the draft board. And in the end, that should be enough to put Gabbert over the top, even if some still have questions about his abilities as a franchise quarterback. Yet that isn’t stopping some writers from projecting a slip down the draft order for Gabbert.
It’s important to note that this happens every year. Just last year, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen was supposed to be a high draft choice after playing in Charlie Weis pro system in college, yet he fell deep into the second round before the Panthers called his name. Aaron Rodgers waited in the famed Green Room at the draft before the Green Bay Packers turned in his card at No. 24.
While smokescreens are common around any draft information, it’s dominant concerning the quarterback’s standing with each team. Thus it’s hard to trust anything — positive or negative — surrounding Gabbert’s draft status. Pat Kirwan at NFL.com has Gabbert falling to No. 15 to the Miami Dolphins. His peers have him at No. 5 and No. 7 to the Cardinals and 49ers respectively.
Still others have him rated to the Buffalo Bills at No. 3 or the Bengals at No. 4 to replace Carson Palmer. Thus the only safe thing to say concerning Blaine Gabbert just two days before the draft begins is that no one really knows where he will go. That might come as bad news for Gabbert’s camp, but it’s part of the intrigue of the NFL Draft for the rest of us.
The 2011 NFL draft is finally here.
Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert will find out which team he'll go to and, after months of mock drafts, we'll find out if we were right about him being a top five pick.
I think I'll be right with my prediction that he'll be a top five pick. I can see him going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers, No. 3 overall to the Buffalo Bills, No. 4 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals or No. 5 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. I think any of those teams would seriously think about taking him.
But let's assuming QB Cam Newton goes No. 1 as most folks are predicting right now. That leaves three teams in the top five that could select him -- Bills, Bengals and Cardinals.
I'm starting to think the Bills will pass on a quarterback (which probably means they'll take a quarterback). The Bengals could surely use Gabbert and that's arguably the most popular landing spot for him via the various mock drafts out there. The Cardinals would appear to be interested but their local beat writers are predicting defense with the fifth pick so I'm not sure who to believe.
But the big week is finally here.
i've been putting a lot of thought into figuring out what the best landing spot is for QB Blaine Gabbert. He could be drafted anywhere from the No. 1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers to as low as No. 12 to the Minnesota Vikings. That's his window.
Realistically, though, I think his window is between the top pick (Panthers) and the fifth pick (Arizona Cardinals). The Cardinals have shown a lot of interest in him and, while it could be a smoke screen, it appears there's some legitimate interest there.
Of all those teams, I feel the Cardinals would be the best fit for Gabbert. He would immediately have a weapon in WR Larry Fitzgerald and some talent around him. It was only three years ago that the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl. I wouldn't want him with the Bengals they're traditionally a poor franchise and even with a franchise quarterback in QB Carson Palmer they weren't able to make much noise.
So in the top five I'd argue the Cardinals are the best spot for Gabbert.
QB Blaine Gabbert was being touted as a No. 1 overall pick last month before QB Cam Newton's resurgence as the best overall player in the 2011 NFL draft.
Of course, that's just what the media says. Teams probably have had these guys graded for a while and there's not much rising and falling.
So can Gabbert move up to the top pick in the draft or is that out of reach?
Considering all the 2011 NFL mock drafts, what everyone is saying about Newton, and the Panthers apparent interest in Newton, I'm inclined to say it's out of reach. Newton has a higher ceiling, I think, although Gabbert's floor may be higher.
That said, Gabbert is in play from the second pick to the fifth pick. That logic would suggest that he's not too far off from potentially being the top overall pick. We've explained before that the Broncos, Bills, Bengals and Cardinals -- owners of picks 2-5 -- have reasons to take Gabbert.
While I think the No. 1 overall pick is probably out of reach, I don't think he falls past the Cardinals at the fifth pick.
I see plenty of 2011 NFL mock drafts predicting the Cincinnati Bengals will draft Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert. On some levels it makes sense with QB Cam Newton going first overall to the Carolina Panthers, and the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills not taking quarterbacks.
That leaves the next top-rated quarterback on the board with a quarterback-needy team. SB Nation's Brian Galliford agrees and has Gabbert going to the Bengals in his latest 2011 NFL mock draft:
Gabbert wouldn't step into the lineup right away, but neither did the man he'd be replacing.
But are the Bengals really a quarterback-needy team? Or, more specifically, do the Bengals feel they're a quarterback-needy team?
It's been reported that Bengals owner Mike Brown isn't yet convinced that QB Carson Palmer will retire if the Bengals don't trade or release him. That means the Bengals may not be thinking about drafting a quarterback, which would mean no Gabbert.
So, oddly enough, Carson Palmer's future could be critical to QB Blaine Gabbert's future.
QB Blaine Gabbert is expected to be one of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2011 NFL draft, perhaps even the top overall pick (even if it is a long shot). Though he may not have the star power of QB Cam Newton, he's still one of the best players in this draft.
The NFL has decided to invite him to attend the draft, and he has accepted, according to Pro Football Talk. This means Gabbert will be walking across the stage and shaking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand when his name is called.
The NFL has invited over 20 prospects to attend the NFL draft, though not all of the players have accepted. The NFLPA is conducting events the week of the draft but they aren't expected to conflict with the draft on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
So Gabbert will be in attendance when he's picked....and he shouldn't have to wait long to hear his name called.
There's no surprise with the latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft from SB Nation when it comes to Blaine Gabbert's draft status, further cementing his expectations as a top four or five prospect. In Brian Galliford's latest mock, Gabbert shores up Cincinnati's quarterback woes given Carson Palmer's recent complaints with the No. 4 pick in the draft.
The interesting question concerning the Bengals draft is whether or not quarterback is even a need position, and that quandary can only be answered internally by team owner Mike Brown's stubbornness. Palmer has made it known publicly that he is finished with the franchise and will retire if not traded. Of course, every off-season comes with such "demands" only to see that same player humbled once it's time to report for duty.
But Carson Palmer is not your average diva. He's a high-profile quarterback who's popular with fans and has been the poster child for the franchise for some time. He's the peaceful yin to the chaotic yang of his wide receivers, which gives Palmer a degree of credibility that similar players wanting out of their situation do not yield. Thus it becomes a game of chicken.
Galliford nods to this scenario when he writes, "A.J. Green really is a strong option for the Bengals, and could very well end up being the pick regardless of quarterback availability. It's just hard to envision Cincinnati passing on a QB knowing that Carson Palmer probably isn't bluffing."
It comes down to a game of chicken, and if so, Blaine Gabbert steps into a very frustrating scenario of not only learning the NFL curve but also stepping into an impossible PR situation.
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been considered a possible top overall selection by the Carolina Panthers in the upcoming NFL Draft since the draft's rumor mill started churning full-time several weeks ago. Yet in recent days, the overall stock of Gabbert has taken a hit, leading several high-profile writers from ESPN to Sports Illustrated to The Sporting News to believe Auburn's Cam Newton is the top quarterback target for most teams. The key question: is this real or is it a draft smokescreen?
Just today, Peter King wrote, "It feels like Blaine Gabbert is fading. I keep thinking the Bengals might give him a parachute at number four." King isn't the only one sensing such a trend, and given the dearth of NFL news with the labor issues in place, the only thing anyone is talking about football-related is the upcoming draft. This only makes Gabbert's fall echo even louder.
Yet any NFL fan who's been around long enough knows that the "news" that comes out concerning a player's supposed stock on draft boards is hardly ever credible. Instead, front offices use their sources as smokescreens a la Spy Hunter to throw other teams off of the trail. For every one choice clearly seen in the crystal ball (i.e. Tony Gonzalez to the Chiefs), there are 100 never-saw-that-coming moments in a typical draft. So the news surrounding Blaine Gabbert could simply be a product of teams wanting to lower his stock and preclude anyone from trading ahead of a certain team afraid he might not be there.
Then again, the quarterback class is particularly intriguing in a year without a clear standout prospect. Every QB from Newton to Andy Dalton has pros and cons, and it only takes one team to fall in love with a guy. Gabbert's potential could be enormous, but is it worth using such a high draft choice when another guy also entices? Therein lies the drama of the NFL Draft.
When all is said and done, there's enough smoke around Gabbert for enough time to believe there's a legitimate fire beneath his stock and he will turn out just fine. If Gabbert "falls" it will still most likely be within the top five draft choices. Then again, we've seen stranger things this time of year and Lord knows we could use some NFL news to get us talking about anything other than a depressing labor situation.
Several weeks ago the majority of 2011 NFL mock drafts had Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert pegged as the top quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft. Many were predicting he'd land with the Carolina Panthers and the top overall pick.
Lately, though, Gabbert's stock in the various mock drafts has been falling and we're not sure why. He's now widely considered the second best quarterback in the draft behind Auburn QB Cam Newton.
But even if he isn't the top quarterback doesn't mean he won't be a top five pick. One of the more popular landing spots for Newton these days is the first pick with the Panthers. The second pick is the Denver Broncos and the third pick is the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo is a threat to take a quarterback, I think, but Cincinnati appears to be the most likely landing spot for Gabbert. Peter King of SI.com said on PFT Live this week that he firmly believes the Bengals will be taking Gabbert if he's there.
The Bengals are dealing with QB Carson Palmer who reportedly threatened to retire if the Bengals wouldn't release or trade him. Many experts believe he is serious so they will need a quarterback of the future (and they'll need one soon).
Gabbert may be that man.
With the dearth of franchise quarterback talent in the NFL, the top quarterback prospect is usually the top drafted prospect in most NFL mock drafts. Therefore, Blaine Gabbert has enjoyed a strong consensus as the No. 1 overall choice for the Carolina Panthers in recent weeks. Things are beginning to change, however, for the talented Missouri quarterback.
Cam Newton has become the No. 1 choice in a couple of key mock drafts, coming on the heels of Mel Kiper discounting Gabbert’s high draft stock just days ago. Both Todd McShay of ESPN and The Sporting News posted recent mock drafts where Gabbert falls below Newton, who takes his place at the top spot in the draft for the Panthers.
Neither sportswriter has Gabbert falling far, so there’s not much to worry about in terms of an Aaron Rodgers style freefall. The Sporting News has Gabbert replacing Carson Palmer in Cincinnati with the No. 4 choice, while McShay has him one spot lower to the Cardinals, who should be looking for any signs of the life at the position after a miserable fall from their Super Bowl contending club.
It’s hard to tell who to believe at this point. Perhaps Gabbert’s stock was never that high and the front office spins of the last few weeks are finally giving way to truth. Or perhaps the tremendous love for Newton from some clubs is a fresh smokescreen to see right through. Three more weeks and we will know.
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert is considered by nearly everyone to be one of the top two quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL draft. He's expected to be a top 10 pick and potentially as high as No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. We have over three weeks until we find out which way Carolina will go but ESPN's Mel Kiper is putting the finishing touches on his latest 2011 NFL mock draft and he tells Peter King of SI.com that he's not buying Gabbert as a legit top quarterback -- at least not yet.
"Blaine Gabbert. Lotta people comparing him to Drew Bledsoe coming out, but I don't see it. I'm not buying into Gabbert. I know he runs a 4.65 at 6-5 and 235, and I give him credit for doing it with a poor receiving corps, but I think he's shaky."
There are question marks with Gabbert, like there are everyone else. What Gabbert has, many NFL folks feel, is the intangibles to rise to the next level. He may not have been as successful as Auburn QB Cam Newton last year but there are reasons to think he improves.
Still, Kiper points to what Gabbert did in college -- or, more accurately, what he didn't do -- as reasons for him slowing down the Gabbert train.
"You realize he completed only 38 percent of his throws 15 yards [and farther] downfield? And he was only 44 percent on third down, with six touchdowns and five interceptions? You know what Andrew Luck was on third down last year? Seventy-one percent. [Gabbert will] go in the top five, but I've got him down past 10 -- not exactly sure where right now. Still finalizing that. But he and Newton will be around 12, 13 for me."
It's April 4. In 24 days, we'll find out exactly what NFL people feel about Gabbert.
With four in-house sports writers partnering with two others from NFLDraftScout.com, USA Today has released it’s first of three planned NFL Mock Drafts this morning and Blaine Gabbert is the overwhelming favorite to head to the Carolina Panthers with the first overall selection. The Missouri quarterback has held that position in other circles, but this definitely solidifies Gabbert’s status as the overall favorite heading into the late April weekend.
The Carolina Panthers are the first to choose in the draft and confidence was already low amid the front office that drafted current quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the first place. Views were mixed on him in last year’s draft, causing him to plummet to late in the second round. He’s only a year in, but the current regime has zero ties to him and it looks like they could flip him for at least one more draft choice in 2010, depending on the collective bargaining agreement.
The only writer to not choose Gabbert at the top of the draft was Jarrett Bell who stayed at the same position but went with Cam Newton. Newton and Gabbert are considered the top two at the most important position, so anything is possible. Bell also had the Cardinals grabbing Gabbert at No. 5, so either way, he’s still a top draft choice.
Mel Kiper is best known for his mock drafts as ESPN’s primary NFL Draft analyst, but he also periodically updates his Big Board of the top player available without any other considerations other than talent. With his latest update, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert still ranks as the top quarterback, although his overall ranking is farther down that you would believe.
Currently Gabbert is No. 12, quickly followed by the next quarterback on the Big Board, Cam Newton, at No. 13. The two signal callers are the only two on the Top 25 players listed, but the lack of risk and bevy of defensive talent have the QBs sitting a bit lower this year than usual. Without the sure-thing at QB this year, even a top prospect like Gabbert sits a bit lower.
Yet even with his lower ranking, Kiper writes that Gabbert will still go much higher than No. 12 because of a team’s need: “Strong arm, good accuracy, ideal size and physical skills. An underrated athlete; was under center at a solid but unspectacular pro day. Will go high.” After ranking No. 11 last week, it’s clear that Kiper believes Gabbert is a first-round talent but questions his ability to be an elite quarterback at the next level. Only time will tell if Kiper’s slight misgivings prove correct.
In the SB Nation annual NFL mock draft with lead bloggers from each team making the picks, the Carolina Panthers have selected Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the first pick overall, giving another feather in Gabbert's popular cap as a high draft pick. Most recently, Mike Mayock and Peter King also noted Gabbert's likelihood of being taken in the top five with a possible No. 1 slot very possible.
The reality is that quarterback starved teams like the Carolina Panthers, along with their colleagues choosing early in the draft like the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals, feel the pressure to cement that most important position on the field. Other prospects like Patrick Peterson or A.J. Green have less risk potential and can help immediately, but the pressure eventually overwhelms the risk and teams, more often than not, reach for that possible star. One look at what Sam Bradford did last year for the St. Louis Rams shows the possibility of what a franchise quarterback can mean to the team.
The debates will continue as to whether Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert deserve that top spot, but the reality is that both will be taken very early in the draft. With a new regime in Carolina not attached to last year's second rounder, Jimmy Clausen, a quarterback is the most likely of choices in this instance.
We've been talking a little bit about how high Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert can go in the 2011 NFL draft. It could be the Carolina Panthers with the top pick, perhaps the Denver Broncos as a darkhorse candidate with the second pick, or maybe even the Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals at the third or fourth pick, respectively.
But we can now predict how low Gabbert can go -- not past Arizona. The Cardinals are believed to be high on Gabbert, high enough to send their ownership contingent to his workout with Cardinals coaches last week.
Peter King of SI.com has taken a look at where Gabbert could go and concludes he will not get past Arizona at the fifth pick. Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune wrote several weeks ago that he heard the Cardinals would put the full-court press on Gabbert and it appears he's correct.
The most likely scenario, I think, is Gabbert going before the fifth pick. All four of the top teams -- Carolina, Denver, Buffalo or Cincinnati -- could reasonably make a run at Gabbert.
So if Arizona truly wants Gabbert, they may have to make a move up to get him.
If they had to trade up to get Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL draft, would they do it? The Arizona Cardinals sent a contingent of team personnel -- including the Bidwills who own the team -- to put Gabbert through a private workout this week.
Though draft season is also called silly season -- because of the crazy draft rumors and lies floating around -- this is a strong indication that the Cardinals really like Gabbert. It's not every day that you owner goes to a personal workout.
The Cardinals pick fifth in the draft and obviously like Gabbert. ESPN's Chris Mortensen said if they can get him, they will. The problem of course is that the Cardinals aren't alone in liking Gabbert. Of the four teams picking ahead of the Cardinals, three are in the market for a quarterback, possibly all four if you include the Denver Broncos, who are working out top quarterback prospects.
I would guess that if the Cardinals wanted Gabbert, they'd have to trade up for him. He's pulling away as the top quarterback on the board, though some teams, like the Buffalo Bills, may still prefer Auburn QB Cam Newton.
It is indeed silly season but I think the Cardinals have genuine interest in Gabbert. How much interest they have, though, will determine whether they'll consider moving up for him.
As if there weren't already enough teams seeking a quarterback at the top of this year's draft, Brian Galliford at SB Nation has the Bengals entering the foray at the No. 4 position in their updated 2011 mock draft. Specifically, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is being teamed with the Bengal's first round choice to take Carson Palmer's place. Given the recent statements of Palmer concerning his willingness to retire if he's not traded by owner/GM Mike Brown this offseason, that's a very real possibility.
Galliford says the treatment of Palmer in allowing the former USC product to come in slowly would be likely once again, even if the current veteran was out of the way: "As the Carson Palmer situation continues to hover over the organization, the Bengals need to take a quarterback if they can get one. If they can land a talent like Gabbert, expect a veteran acquisition to bring the rook along slowly - just as they did with Palmer."
It's not a given, however, that Gabbert would even be available at this point. The Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers both select ahead of the Bengals, and even the Denver Broncos have been kicking the tires of some of the draft's quarterback prospects. The reality is that QB is such a position of need among the bottom tier of teams in the NFL that someone is going to strike early on Gabbert. The Bengals newfound interest only complicates an already crowded situation of demand with a lack of sure supply.
The latest pre-draft musings from ESPN’s Todd McShay come off as strongly supportive of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert in relation to his NFL Draft status and his recent Pro Day workout. The feedback was mostly positive across the board from media personnel in attendance, so McShay is hardly alone or original in his claims that Gabbert was impressive. But it was a series of comments made concerning comparable quarterbacks that might have some raising their eyebrows.
Specifically, McShay compared Gabbert to other recent first round quarterbacks and made the observation that while Gabbert is at the top of his personal quarterback rankings, Gabbert still doesn’t compare to recent top choices:
Let’s be clear that while Gabbert is a very good quarterback he is not on the same level Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford were coming out of college. Gabbert is a notch below that level, similar to where Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez were when they entered the league, but he certainly has the tools to become a solid NFL starter.
Both Stafford and Sanchez have had their share of ups and downs, with injuries being a major factor for Stafford unfortunately. Sanchez supporters will point out his playoff success, but let’s be honest that the talent around Sanchez is significantly better than Stafford’s Lions or Gabbert’s potential Panthers team (or Cardinals or Bills).
Every team choosing a quarterback that high hopes they’re getting the next Matt Ryan or Sam Bradford, a quarterback who can step right into the shoes of NFL starter and take over with a veteran savvy and charisma. Those choices are few and far between, unfortunately, and that’s something we just won’t know about Gabbert, no matter how talented, until the 2011 season begins.
We noted earlier on Wednesday the rising number of people who are predicting Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert will be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft so it's perfect timing for this report from Aaron Wilson of National Football Post:
The Carolina Panthers have scheduled a private workout for Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert for this weekend, according to sources close to the Tigers' program. Per the source, the Panthers are sending a contingent of personnel to Columbia, Mo., to work out the 6-foot-4, 234-pound quarterback.
This is not a surprise by any means. The Panthers will work out multiple candidates for the top pick, including Auburn QB Cam Newton, who is the only other quarterback people feel could be picked ahead of Gabbert.
Gabbert's pro day is on March 17th where he'll throw for the first time in front of scouts. He did not throw at the 2011 NFL Combine.
We'll see what the Panthers brass thinks of Gabbert. They spent a second round pick on QB Jimmy Clausen last season but a new regime is in town, and Clausen didn't have the greatest of rookie seasons.
We just passed along a prediction from ESPN's Adam Schefter that Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Schefter's connected so I thought that was a notable prediction by him. Don Banks of SI.com has also joined the Gabbert to Carolina train.
Here's what Banks said in Sports Illustrated's latest 2011 NFL mock draft:
History says the top-rated quarterback winds up going first overall in the draft, and that's a trend that has held true in 10 of the past 13 years (from the start of the Peyton Manning era in 1998 on). Before all is said and done on the evening of April 28, I expect Gabbert to emerge as the most pro-ready passer available, and that means he'll eventually distance himself from Cam Newton and work his way into Carolina's plans.
This is sound thinking. Quarterbacks do often go No. 1 overall, especially to a team like Carolina without a definitive starting quarterback. And Gabbert may just be the most pro-ready passer which would put him ahead of others. Gabbert's considered a smart player as well so learning the playbook quickly would presumably be something he's capable of.
As of March 16, Gabbert seems to be the most popular choice for the No. 1 pick. Of course, things can (and will) change plenty leading up to April 28.
Check out Rock M Nation for more on Mizzou.
Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert is one of the top two quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL draft along with Auburn QB Cam Newton. We've seen mock drafts with both players going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers, as well as others like DT Marcell Dareus.
There do seem to be more folks lately putting Gabbert at the No. 1 spot. ESPN's Adam Schefter is one of the best in the business and his prediction is...
It's only March 16, and the winds will change again, but my pick to be next month's No. 1 pick is...Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert.
That's a good sign for Gabbert. Schefter doesn't guess on this sort of stuff -- well, it's all a guess but he makes educated guesses. That must be the scuttlebutt around the league right now.
One interesting scenario with the draft involves the rookie wage scale. If something like that is implemented, then it becomes much more realistic to trade the top pick. The position most would trade up for is quarterback, which would likely be Gabbert or Newton.
The question now is: will Gabbert show up to Radio City Music Hall or go to the NFLPA draft event?
Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert has one thing going for him -- he's smart. Well, at least the Wonderlic Test suggests he's smart. Gabbert and other pro prospects took the aptitude test and he tells Rich Eison that he scored a 42 on the test. The highest possible score is 50 so 42 is considered very high.
That's good news for Gabbert because one of his strengths is that he's smart, which is obviously a critical aspect of being a quarterback in the NFL. These days, more and more teams are concerned with "character" and having a good head on your shoulders is part of that.
That said, the Wonderlic isn't a big part of the draft process and just because you score well doesn't mean you're not a turd. But the score does support the idea that Gabbert is a smart player.
Will it matter when draft time comes? I doubt it matters much. Usually a score that's too low would hurt you but anythign above average won't hurt or necessarily help you.
One interesting school of thought on a high Wonderlic score is that it could be construed as a bad thing because coaches may not want someone in the locker room who is smarter than them (or a locker room lawyer). I'm not sure I buy into that, especially at quarterback.
2011 NFL mock drafts have fairly consistently over the last month had Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert in the top 10 of the 2011 NFL draft. Previously, Gabbert would occasionally sneak into the top 10 but was often in the early teens in his draft projections.
The last few weeks, though, we've seen several teams being attached to Gabbert including the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals.
The latest 2011 NFL mock draft from SBNation.com has Gabbert landing in Buffalo.
Thanks to surprising play from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills don't believe they have an immediate need at quarterback. They also do not have long-term direction, a solid backup, nor a face to the franchise. Gabbert would get the development time he needs in Buffalo.
Ah, the old question: Do you start a rookie immediately or let him sit? I think if most folks had their way a quarterback picked high would get at least a year to sit and learn the system as well as the pro game in general. However, that often doesn't happen because, well, if you're picking in the top 10 there's a good chance don't have a great quarterback situation.
In Buffalo, the Bills could conceivably stick with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for a year allowing Gabbert a chance to settle in as a pro. If that scenario is possible, I think that would be best for him.
Of course if he does go to Buffalo, there will be pressure to play him since you picked him so high.
Following the 2010 college football season, I thought that, if Blaine Gabbert came out, he would probably be a first round pick. I was right in that regard because he will indeed be a first round pick. But I didn't realize how high he could actually go.
Mel Kiper's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has Gabbert going No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers. He predicts Gabbert's solid showing in Indy will help (although he won't throw until his March 17 pro day) and a potential rookie wage scale, which would dramatically decrease the money paid to top picks, could help Gabbert go to the Panthers, or another team, with the first pick.
So it makes sense for Carolina to project that it could take one of the top quarterbacks and open up the trade options, in essence, saying, "To guarantee a shot at the one you prefer, talk to us." Lastly, while I still believe in Jimmy Clausen's chances given his youth, Ron Rivera could not be blamed for targeting his own vision of a franchise quarterback with a pick here or via free agency. It's a leverage position now, but also a potential pick. Part of it is up to Gabbert.
A rookie wage scale would suddenly mean you can trade the top pick because, right now, that's nearly impossible with the cost of acquiring that pick combined with the money you'd pay the top pick. This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on because it could dramatically affect the movement at the top of the draft.
One of the interesting points about the 2011 NFL draft right now is that there hasn't been a free agency yet. With the upcoming lockout, we really have no idea if there will be a free agency this year. It appears the two sides, the NFL and NFLPA, have a shot at getting something done next week.
But if they don't, there won't be free agency meaning all those teams that would normally fill their rosters via free agency will have to do that through the draft. For teams needing a quarterback, that means they may have to reach and that could, potentially, help Blaine Gabbert, although Gabbert's not considered much of a reach anywhere, except perhaps No. 1 to the Panthers.
Here's what Pat Kirwan of NFL.com said on the subject and it makes sense:
Teams that need a quarterback are going to have to consider reaching for one, or there might not be a lot to pick from by the time they draft again. Carolina, for example, picks first overall but doesn't select again until the first pick of the third round. Can Cincinnati, which owns the fourth overall pick, really call Carson Palmer's bluff? The Redskins might not love a guy like Jake Locker enough to take him with the 10th pick, but who will be there when they pick again in the second round (No. 41)? What choice does Minnesota have at No. 12 ifJoe Webb is the only QB under contract and a realistic trade isn't possible?
That could end up helping Gabbert because he'll be almost assured of going in the top five if teams are going to start reaching. In reality, no one's really sure how team will respond if there is no free agency.
Blaine Gabbert to the Cincinnati Bengals makes some sense.
If you haven't paid attention to the NFL since the season ended, then you may not know that QB Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati. In fact, he says he won't ever play for the Bengals again. That means, if he's right about that, the Bengals need a quarterback and need one bad.
Enter Gabbert. SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has him landing in Cincy with the fourth pick.
Carson Palmer's continued insistence, through various media leaks, that he's done in Cincinnati will likely force the Bengals' hand here if either Newton or Gabbert is available. In either case, Cincinnati would likely target a veteran while the rookie grooms - just as they did with Palmer.
Do they go with the early quarterback again? It was just 2003 that they used the No. 1 overall pick on Palmer. They went to the playoffs just twice in his tenure but he wasn't viewed as the problem very often so I'd say they hit on him. That tells me that the Bengals may be tempted to take Gabbert if they got it right on their last quarterback. That's just a guess, though.
Blaine Gabbert to Cincinnati? It makes sense but considering the state of the Bengals franchise I don't think it would be the best case scenario for him.
The 2011 NFL draft is now less than two months away and we still have no clue how the top of the draft will go. That's not unusual for this time of year but usually we have some idea of the players at the top of the draft. This year, though, there are lots of varying opinions.
Former Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert could just as easily go No. 1 in the draft as he could fall to the Vikings at No. 12. One scenario, though, could affect Gabbert's status.
What if one of the teams at the top of the draft, like the Cardinals for example, make a trade for a veteran quarterback, like Donovan McNabb? That's the point CBS Sports' Pete Prisco brings up in his latest 2011 NFL mock draft, where Gabbert heads to the Cardinals:
They are in need of a franchise passer. If they don't get a vet -- think Donovan McNabb -- they might grab Gabbert here.
Of course, no trades can happen until the NFL owners and players come to an agreement on a new labor deal. But if they do get a deal done, and trades are allowed again, I'd keep an eye on one of the top 10 teams in the draft making a move for a veteran quarterback. That could have a negative impact on Gabbert's draft status.
After months of seeing various defensive ends or tackles at the top of the big board, it’s clear that the weight of the quarterback position is taking hold after the combine. While teams might like the luxury of taking a cornerback like Patrick Peterson from LSU or a defensive end like Da’Quan Bowers from Clemson, if a team like the Panthers need a quarterback, they simply have to go after him.
Current Panthers starter Jimmy Clausen isn’t going to like this news, of course, but given the performance of last year’s second round choice from Notre Dame, who can blame the Panthers for trying again. With a new head coach in Ron Rivera, there’s no official ties to last year’s selections and Clausen needs to feel that pressure. Even if Clausen steps up and Gabbert sits a bit, you can ask the Eagles how that feels to be in the driver’s seat on stocking quarterbacks when discussing trade possibilities.
Former Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert has been connected to a lot of different teams as we go through and look at all the various 2011 NFL mock drafts out there. Occasionally, you see the Carolina Panthers at No. 1 overall, and then there's the Buffalo Bills at No. 3 and Arizona Cardinals at No. 5. The Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers are in the top 10, as are the Washington Redskins.
One team we rarely saw him connected to -- Cincinnati Bengals, who pick fourth. It's an interesting place to look at because right now they have QB Carson Palmer, and we're not sure they'll have him for long. Palmer has requested a trade this offseason and threatened to retire if it doesn't. Though the Bengals won't grant him a trade, they're kicking the tires on quarterback options in the draft.
That includes Gabbert.
As someone who wants to see Gabbert do well, going to Cincinnati would be a nightmare. There's some talent in place but Cincinnati is known as the type of place that doesn't do everything they can to help their players succeed (unlike Dallas or Washington, where there are examples of that working and failing). Palmer has a ton of talent and went to the playoffs just twice since the Bengals made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. Not many folks are happy about going to play for Cincinnati. There's a reason for that. The upside, or the light at the end of the tunnel, doesn't seem to be there.
So, in my mind, Cincinnati wouldn't be a good destination (and, while we're on the subject, Buffalo may not be the best place for success, either).
Former Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert didn't throw at the 2011 NFL Combine in Indianapolis and was the only top QB that didn't do so. We're not walking out of the Combine thinking any other quarterback definitely leaped ahead of Gabbert as one of the top quarterbacks. Right now, it's he and former Auburn QB Cam Newton at the top of the quarterback list. In other words, the quarterbacks didn't change on our 2011 NFL mock drafts.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock spent a few minutes talking about Gabbert and where he stands relative to other quarterbacks who have been in his position.
"He's got a bigger transition than Sam Bradford or Matt Ryan; it's more similar to (Joe) Flacco," Mayock said. "He's a spread quarterback who never gets under center where Ryan, Bradford and (Stafford) occasionally went under. You saw them do it. Fifty percent of his throws are catch, rock and throw with no footwork whatsoever and the other 50 percent are three step and hitch, which means there's going to be a transition on his footwork, no question about it."
Gabbert, though, has shown a willingness to work so you gotta think that, if it can be improved, it will be. One of the best things Gabbert has going for him is his claim that he won't be out-worked. If he can prove that throughout his career, he'll end up being worth a top 10 pick.
Mayock has Newton as his No. 3 quarterback, and former Washington QB Jake Locker as his second quarterback, with Gabbert at No. 2, so he clearly believes in the Mizzou QB.
Mayock said, "I believe in Blaine Gabbert" and indicated that, no matter the situation, if you need a franchise quarterback and you think this guy is one, then you need to pull the trigger.
Making a hard decision at quarterback with a high draft pick? Calling Cincinnati....
NFL Network's Mike Mayock and ESPN's Todd McShay are, like most NFL draft experts, a fan of former Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, who is expected to be one of the top two quarterbacks taken. Each has taken a stab at breaking down Gabbert's play and both came away impressed.
Mayock broke down Gabbert's play in this NFL.com video. Mayock feels that Gabbert has the head to play in the NFL as he noted several times that he's a smart player who understands the concepts involved. That's huge for a rookie quarterback because most everyone is already talented at this point. It's just a matter of understanding the concepts and what you're being asked to do. it sounds simple to say but, if it were that easy, we wouldn't have any first round busts around. Mayock's question marks, like most people, came with his footwork because he comes out of a spread offense.
McShay noted his accuracy when talking about Gabbert.
"Don't underestimate how talented he is. He's more accurate than Cam Newton."
I'd also say don't underestimate how athletic he is. Though NFL teams will want to rein in his desire to run at times, his athleticism is a bonus.
The NFL mock draft pick of the week is...QB Blaine Gabbert to the Buffalo Bills.
It seems we've seen an uptick in 2011 NFL mock drafts that predict Gabbert will land in Buffalo. We started the weekwith Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings taking Gabbert with the Bills pick in his latest mock draft. That's been followed by Don Banks of SI.com who writes Gabbert will land in Buffalo because he's the most ready-now quarterback.
There are hints and signals that Buffalo likes Auburn's Cam Newton, and maybe so. But it stands to reason that Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix need the quarterback who is most NFL-ready right now, and from all indications that's Gabbert. The Missouri standout needs to prove he can make the transition from spread offense to a pro-style attack, but if the Bills find their comfort zone with him, they have to pounce. Buffalo's search for the next Jim Kelly has gone on long enough.
If ready now means starting from day one, I'd disagree with this assessment. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't a total bust at quarterback and Chan Gailey does great work with quarterbacks, so I could see a situation where there's a quarterback like Fitzpatrick in there for a year.
The great thing about the draft is that, even without any games played, draft stocks will rise and fall and our board will look different. Even with that change, Gabbert will be a high pick if he's the first or second quarterback taken, as expected.
Yahoo Sports' Doug Farrar is the latest draft analyst to take a closer look at Blaine Gabbert, and the good news for Mizzou fans is that he loves what he sees. Some writers are mixed whether Gabbert or Cam Newton is the top quarterback available in April's draft, but it seems that nearly everyone is unanimous that Gabbert is at least one of the top picks in the draft for quarterback starved teams.
The comparison Farrar makes is to former Delaware quarterback and current Raven Joe Flacco. If you'll remember, Flacco had similar knocks against him in college that people are throwing at Gabbert -- that he was a product of a system and questioned whether he'd be able to recover from the spread offense he ran at the college level. Questions still remain about his accuracy, but Farrar even seems to think that he'll overcome that:
When Andrew Luck decided to stay at Stanford, Gabbert benefitted more than anyone else. He's closest to success in a pro-style (heavy on the shotgun) offense because he's got command of different types of intermediate throws, and he's got the kind of arm strength that can be honed by the right kind of coaching. Add in his excellent mobility and ability to roll out of the pocket and make every throw with both feet on the ground, and Gabbert looks more and more like an exceptional pro prospect.
He'll have to learn the things spread quarterbacks don't do that often – snaps under center, play-fakes and play-action – but like Flacco before him, Gabbert is far more than a spread offense washout. He's more mobile than Flacco, and Flacco has a better arm, but it's a decent comp for that reason alone.
Grading him out as an "exceptional" prospect only adds to the hype (and competition with Cam Newton) that will continue to spiral upward as the draft approaches - especially this week with the NFL Combine. We'll continue to see how he grades out through interviews and Pro Day workouts.
Will the top quarterback taken be Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert? Will Gabbert be a top-10 pick? Top five? Top three? It's so easy to get caught up in the typical debate questions at this point in the offseason that you might wonder just what kind of pro quarterback Missouri's Blaine Gabbert might turn out to be. People often point to his ideal size and strong arm and envision certain comparisons. That's exactly what Greg Cox does when he sizes up Gabbert and sees a longtime NFL veteran.
Kerry Collins might not make anyone's heart swoon since Collins' career has certainly featured some interesting turns along the way. But that's exactly what Cox sees when searching for someone to identify Gabbert's potential with, and the traits are interesting to compare. As Cox writes:
"Both players possess the size you would draw up for an NFL quarterback and the arm strength to get the ball down the field. Collins does not take too many sacks, and the same could be true for Gabbert if he pairs his mobility with a little pocket awareness."
It's easy to forget that Kerry Collins is a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who was also a top-five choice in 1995 and made it to the Super Bowl in 2000. He's thrown for 40,000 yards in his career and over 200 touchdowns in that time. While he's never been an elite quarterback, there's something to be said for a veteran who might return for his 17th season next year -- something that his size and strength certainly adds to. Gabbert still has plenty to prove and time will tell, but a team drafting the Mizzou signal caller could do much worse than the next Kerry Collins.
When looking at where QB Blaine Gabbert may go in the 2011 NFL draft, you have to first identify the teams that could conceivably pick a quarterback. That position isn't like others where you may go with the best available. You only pick a quarterback if you need one. The Indianapolis Colts, for example, aren't going to pick a quarterback in the first round even if that's the best available player.
One of the teams some think could be select a quarterback is the Buffalo Bills. I've already said that I think the Bills would go with QB Cam Newton over Gabbert because I think head coach Chan Gailey would prefer a more athletic quarterback (not to say Gabbert's not athletic).
SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft comes courtesy of Brian Galliford and they say Gabbert will be in Buffalo with the third pick:
Right now, quarterback is a trendy pick for the Bills, and with good reason: in Ryan Fitzpatrick, they have a guy that can bridge the gap until a new guy is ready to play. It seems odd, however, that Cam Newton gets all the play here when Gabbert has the tools to be the better pro.
What's noteworthy is that Galliford is SB Nation's Bills blogger at Buffalo Rumblings so he's more tuned into the Bills draft than anyone. This isn't a new prediction as other mock drafts have pegged him in Buffalo but I find it interesting that Galliford of all people would predict he lands in Buffalo.
The next step in the NFL draft process is the 2011 NFL Combine later this week. That's where we'll see players rise and fall based on how they run and catch in shorts.
For more on Gabbert, check out SB Nation's Missouri blog, Rock M Nation.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock is generally considered one of, if not the best draft analyst currently in the game. He held a conference call with reporters this week and had some interesting things to say about Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert.
The question posed to him was, with the No. 5 overall pick, who should the Arizona Cardinals take. The choices: QB Blaine Gabbert, LB Von Miller or CB Patrick Peterson. Via Arizona Republic:
"I go back to what I always say," Mayock said. "If you believe there is a franchise quarterback, that trumps every other need. And since Kurt Warner retired, that underscores that point better than anything I can say. So if you believe Gabbert is the guy, you've got to take him right there. I think they have to be evaluating him right now."
This is a no-brainer if they like Gabbert. It's never too early to take a quarterback, especially if you don't have one. Gabbert has some things that scouts are going to love so I think this is a very real possibility. And, for Gabbert, playing with Larry Fitzgerald wouldn't be so bad, huh?
"But if they believe like I believe that Gabbert is a top 10 pick, that would be my guy at No. 5."
We haven't yet heard Mayock's complete scouting report of Gabbert but I'm interested to see it. Gabbert's size and arm make him a valuable player next April. But how much stock do you put into the offense he played in at Missouri? Will that hurt him? If so, how much? Those are questions we can't answer exactly and won't be completely answered until next April.
ESPN's Mel Kiper has weighed in with his latest 2011 NFL mock draft and Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert remains a top 10 pick. Kiper has Gabbert falling to the Washington Redskins at the 10th pick while he has Auburn QB Cam Newton jumping up to the third spot and landing with the Buffalo Bills.
The idea of Newton going to the Bills is very intriguing. Bills head coach Chan Gailey does some solid work with quarterbacks and Newton's athleticism seems to fit into the type of quarterback he'd like. There's no indication whether the Bills would actually take a quarterback with the third pick but, if they did, I agree they'd go with Newton over Gabbert.
Meanwhile Kiper has Gabbert falling to the Redskins with the 10th pick.
Gabbert might be more ready than Newton to read defenses at the NFL level, and as a quarterback with very good accuracy, instincts and size, he could come into a franchise in Washington that might need him early. Gabbert is a guy whose stock rose a lot this year and will be under the microscope during the workout process. But what he doesn't give you is a quarterback who elicits a wide range of opinions or the boom-or-bust concerns many have with Newton and Ryan Mallett.
If I'm Gabbert, I think I like this move -- a lot. Mike Shanahan's reputation has taken a hit in the last year but he still has plenty of experience with top tier quarterbacks.
The draft is still a long, long time away (two months) but it's clear that the top two quarterbacks right now are turning out to be Newton and Gabbert. It also appears that both will be top 10 picks -- maybe top 12 picks -- depending on how things shake out.
ESPN's Todd McShay spent a few minutes in a conference call on Wednesday discussing Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert and Auburn QB Cam Newton. Many 2011 NFL mock drafts I read have both players going high in the draft around the top 10-12 picks.
Obviously with Auburn's national championship there's been some heavy buzz on Newton but Gabbert's been rising since the end of the season as well. Both have established themselves as the top two quarterbacks in the draft (although the NFL Combine can change things).
Here's what McShay said on both:
"Gabbert and Newton are very different players. Gabbert is more polished. Newton has rare overall physical tools, but there's also more boom or bust potential there with him," McShay said.
McShay was also asked to compare Gabbert and Newton to the two Super Bowl quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. That's why you're going to see some stories out there that suggest McShay compares Gabbert to Rodgers. That's true -- sort of.
It'll be interesting next week at the NFL Combine when teams can sit down with these players and get to know them. I think you'll see some guys rise as a result of that and others will be hurt by it. It's unclear how the Combine will affect both quarterbacks but right now no one has a good handle on which quarterback will be drafted first. NFL Network's Albert Breer went as far as to say the No. 1 overall pick isn't ruled out for Newton.
If the Buffalo Bills decide to go for a quarterback in the 2011 NFL draft, they'll have a couple of options with the third overall pick. Those two options would be Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert and Auburn QB Cam Newton. Both players are considered the top two quarterback prospects in the 2011 NFL draft.
2011 NFL mock drafts are varied on where Newton and Gabbert may go but CBS Sports' Pete Prisco predicts Gabbert goes ahead of Newton, and lands in Buffalo.
They've been trying to replace Jim Kelly with a franchise leader for years. Now they can with a strong-armed quarterback who can handle the weather of playing outside in Buffalo.
The Bills currently have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and if an immediate-starter isn't drafted, he will likely be the guy heading into 2011. If they do go quarterback early, it'll be Newton or Gabbert.
But is Gabbert the best choice for what head coach Chan Gailey wants to do.
Remember back to when Gailey was in Kansas City. What he did with QB Tyler Thigpen was impressive considering where Thigpen was coming from. But Thigpen's skill set -- ability to run, versatile -- is something Gailey likes.
And if that skill set is what Gailey is looking for in his quarterback, then Newton -- not Gabbert -- makes the most sense.
The 2011 NFL draft is getting closer which means we're going to be seeing more 2011 NFL mock drafts. SB Nation has released their latest mock draft and it's time to take a look at where Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert may end up going.
Brian Galliford of SB Nation predicts he'll be wearing purple with the Minnesota Vikings at pick No. 12.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Minnesota's desperation for a quarterback seems higher than other teams', and this is a good value spot for Gabbert.
This makes a lot of sense. Minnesota obviously needs a quarterback and Gabbert is expected to be one of the top two quarterbacks taken. This mock has Auburn QB Cam Newton headed to the Arizona Cardinals with the fifth pick. Newton's draft status is something Gabbert fans will want to keep an eye on. If a team is thinking about selecting Newton, then they're in need of a quarterback. Newton and Gabbert are seemingly rated close enough that a quarterback-needy team interested in Newton may have interest in Gabbert as well.
We saw over the last few weeks many mock drafts with Gabbert going ahead of Newton. That doesn't appear to be the case with every team. As we noted, Gabbert's stock seems to be slipping heading into the NFL Combine.
It won't be until after the NFL Combine, and after these players visit a few teams, that we'll have a more realistic view of the draft board.
Former Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert went from having a good, but not great, senior season where he might make an argument as a first round pick to see ing Stanford QB Andrew Luck return to school, playing well in the Insight Bowl and seeing his stock soar to possibly as high as the top quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL draft.
And now things are coming back down a little bit, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper, who says Gabbert's stock is slipping as we sit here just several weeks before the NFL Combine.
Apparently, teams have done more film work on Gabbert now that the season is over. His senior season was, as we said, good but not great, throwing for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He didn't dominate the the competition like another Missouri quarterback did in Chase Daniel.
What Gabbert does have going for him is size. Not to go all cliche on you, but you can't teach size. He's 6'4", big and has a strong arm. Those are positives that will keep him in the first round.
His main competition is former Auburn QB Cam Newton, who reportedly had a "phenomenal" workout for assembled media this week. Fortunately for Gabbert, Newton's workout means next to nothing as far as the draft is concerned. Teams will flip on 14 games of tape on Newton -- not 45 minutes of workouts only broadcast by ESPN and local media.
What you should remember is that we are a long, long time from developing any sort of respectable big board. We still have the NFL Combine and various visits to NFL teams ahead of us.
CBS Sports unveiled their latest mock drafts from sportswriters Pete Prisco and Chad Reuter and both have Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert heading to the Buffalo Bills with the third overall choice in the draft. This comes after recent mocks where Gabbert slides below other QB choices — Cam Newton — and lower in the top tier.
For Prisco, it comes down to the bad weather and the good arm of Gabbert: “They’ve been trying to replace Jim Kelly with a franchise leader for years. Now they can with a strong-armed quarterback who can handle the weather of playing outside in Buffalo.”
Reuter agrees with the placement and sees Gabbert as the most well-rounded quarterback available, making it the right choice, “If not, Gabbert represents the best all-around skill set in the QB class and also has the fewest question marks.”
2011 NFL draft season is underway which means a couple of things. First, everyone turns into a scout. Second, teams start lying. It's well known that teams will fudge the truth a little if it means throwing someone off the scent of a player they may be interested in.
We're not sure if that's happened here but Tony Pauline of Draft Insider reports that six NFL teams said they have Auburn QB Cam Newton as their top player on the board.
Last week in San Antonio at least six different teams said they rank Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as the number one prospect in the draft. The opinions were comprised from scouts, personnel directors and a few coaches. All had Newton rated clearly higher than Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley,Marcel Dareus and competing signal caller Blaine Gabbert. We hear the Miami Dolphins have been inquiring heavily into Newton at this stage of the game.
Interesting. I was thinking teams were leaning toward Gabbert being ranked over Newton but that may not be the case. If he's not the top quarterback taken, Gabbert would presumably be the second, and possibly still top 10, depending on quarterback needs.
The Tennessee Titans have completely wiped the slate clean at both key positions aside from general manager. After making it known that Vince Young will not be the future Titans quarterback, the team also parted ways recently with long-time head coach Jeff Fisher, a 16-year veteran on the Titans’ sidelines. It’s a combined set of moves that declare the team is ready for a brand new identity in the AFC South.
Generally, when making such sweeping moves, the quarterback position is one of the first pieces addressed. If not in year one, then certainly by the second draft, the team stakes its claim in their pick for Quarterback of the Future. That’s the thought process behind the latest mock from NESN when choosing Blaine Gabbert for the Titans No. 8 pick in the draft.
Perhaps Cam Newton or Jake Locker will be chosen there, but with Gabbert’s strong arm, athleticism and ideal size, he’s as good a choice as any at this point. And he should be thankful for yet another team in the Top 10 declaring they’re ready for a clean slate — the undrafted quarterback’s best friend.
With the release of another SB Nation Mock Draft, the trend is clear: the quarterback position is in danger of sliding heavily. Every quarterback eligible for this year’s draft, including frontrunner Blaine Gabbert and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, has several question marks — depending on the source.
Teams choosing this high in the draft are looking for a sure thing to make a splash. If the quarterback is iffy, you might as well play it safe and grab the impact corner or defensive end. For example, in their latest mock, the Vikings end up choosing the first signal caller:
It’s not overly likely that the Vikings will have their pick of the litter at quarterback, but this scenario brings forth an interesting debate: Gabbert or Cam Newton? We’ll go with Gabbert for now, as he’s got fewer question marks (but perhaps less upside).
Perhaps it’s not a likely scenario, but it shows how important the upcoming Pro Days and Scouting Combine will be for these players.
In the most recent mock over at WalterFootball.com, the issue of where Blaine Gabbert falls is a source of contention throughout the top 10. Specifically, as the author sees it, Gabbert just isn’t worth all of the hype that makes him, at this point, the probable top QB selection in the draft. Note what he writes:
Blaine Gabbert, the supposed best of the bunch, has major accuracy issues. That’s not good for a West Coast offense. Yet, because of his size, arm strength and upside, Gabbert is widely considered to be a top-10 prospect. I give up.
In the end, Gabbert falls to No. 10 to the Redskins after consideration by Arizona, Cincinnati and others — but even at this spot they aren’t sold. The forums at WalterFootball.com aren’t any better with a very divided audience going back and forth over Gabbert’s credentials. Chances are, this won’t be the last you hear on the issue.
2011 NFL mock draft season is in full force already with the 2011 Senior Bowl taking place this week. We're seeing all kinds of mock drafts on Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert but the consensus seems to be he'll be one of the first two quarterbacks taken.
Don Banks of SI.com thinks he'll be the first quarterback taken and he'll be picked very high -- third overall by the Buffalo Bills.
Scouts like Gabbert's arm, his football sense and his prototypical NFL size. Now all he has to do is give them a comfort zone that his transition from Missouri's spread offense to an NFL-style passing game won't be more than he can handle. The Bills' defensive front needs help, so Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is tempting. But if Gabbert is deemed franchise QB material, No. 3 seems like the right time at the right price in whatever rookie wage scale is to come.
If you think he's the guy, then pull the trigger no matter the cost. If he's not the guy, the Bills can't go wrong with defense. They currently have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who did okay last season but it's unclear if the Bills will be seriously considering a quarterback at that spot.
The Bills are still in a rebuilding mode so Gabbert likely wouldn't see immediate success. If he did go to Buffalo, I could see him sitting for a year (or more) while they play Fitzpatrick.
The 2011 NFL draft is three months away but might as well be around the corner with the 2011 Senior Bowl in action this week and a heavy dose of 2011 NFL draft talk going on. One of the most intriguing story lines in this draft is who the top quarterback will be.
With QB Andrew Luck staying at Stanford, there are a few players vying for the top position including Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, Auburn QB Cam Newton and Washington QB Jake Locker. ESPN's Mel Kiper recently conducted a conference call and touched on each of those quarterbacks.
On Gabbert, Kiper says the issue is the system in which he plays. This is a very real problem that Gabbert will have to overcome. Despite the number of spread quarterbacks that are coming into the NFL these days, no one has quite figured out what translates and what doesn't. Gabbert's sophomore year was better from a statistical standpoint so he also has to deal with the perception that his game dropped from his sophomore to junior year.
On Newton, Kiper says he has a ton of upside and thinks the Redskins will be taking him with the 10th overall pick. Depending on who needs a quarterback in the top 10, he could be the first quarterback taken.
On Locker, Kiper said he had a sub-par year against college defenses so he's not sure he's a great prospect.
Back in April of 2006, the Tennessee Titans handed the keys of their organization to QB Vince Young who they selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft. Five years later and the Titans are moving on from Young meaning they could be in the market for a new franchise quarterback.
One candidate for that spot is Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert, who is projected as one of the top quarterbacks taken in the 2011 NFL draft. Mock drafts around the league have Gabbert landing around the top 10 and Brian Galliford of SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has him going to the Titans with the eighth pick.
I had Cam Newton here a week ago, but have re-considered the idea that the Titans would take a player with character concerns after dealing with Vince Young. Gabbert is a nice value here, though it's not certain that Jeff Fisher can wait for a young guy to develop.
While Galliford suggests Fisher may not be able to wait, I'd argue that he could select a quarterback to prolong his Tennessee career. Taking a quarterback high in the draft could give owner Bud Adams reason to keep Fisher around as he sees the young quarterback through his formative years in the league.
Check out the full mock draft at SBNation.com.
ESPN's Mel Kiper has released his first 2011 NFL mock draft of the year and it looks similar to others that we've seen with Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert going in the top 10. Kiper has Gabbert headed to the Arizona Cardinals with the fifth overall pick.
Going first to the Carolina Panthers is Auburn DT Nick Fairley, second to the Denver Broncos is LSU CB Patrick Peterson, third to the Buffalo Bills is Alabama DE Marcell Dareus and fourth is Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers to the Cincinnati Bengals.
And then there Gabbert at No. 5. Here's what Kiper had to say with that pick:
The Cardinals were a mess at quarterback in 2010, and while Max Hall and John Skelton showed glimpses, both are projects, and there's no real solution in place for next season outside of a trade. Gabbert will be under the microscope during the testing process perhaps more than any other player, but at this stage he's the most NFL-ready QB in the draft. Arizona is in a tough spot: If the Cardinals pass on Gabbert, there won't be a QB who can do more for them sooner than Skelton or Hall later in the draft. Gabbert offers a strong arm, protoype size, reads the game well and has a lot of upside.
Kiper's last point is a good one -- if they don't go with Gabbert now, they're basically committed themselves to Skelton and/or Hall next year, which would be a problem.
SB Nation's Mocking The Draft has come out with the second version of their 2011 NFL mock draft and Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert continues to look like a top 10 pick. Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton are among a few quarterbacks expected to be taken near the top of the draft.
Mocking The Draft has Gabbert going No. 7 overall to the San Francisco 49ers.
Although I'm not as high on Gabbert as some, this would be a good spot for him. It's only a slight reach for the 49ers to get a quarterback they hope will turn into a franchise signal caller.
Gabbert is the first quarterback taken in this mock draft. Newton goes No. 10 to the Washington Redskins, where we've seen Gabbert land in other mock drafts.
The 49ers picking a quarterback makes sense. QB Alex Smith is not expected to return and I'm not sure they're sold on QB Troy Smith either. So it's possible there's a spot open for Gabbert, maybe even playing early.
Check out Mocking The Draft's full mock draft.
Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert is entering the 2011 NFL draft and, with QB Andrew Luck staying at Stanford, the path to the number one pick is wide open. No one is quite sure who it will be but one of Gabbert's agents says he has a shot to be the first quarterback taken.
"We believe that he has a chance to fight to be the No. 1 quarterback taken in the 2011 draft," said Ben Dogra, one of Gabbert's representatives at Clayton-based CAA Football. "And if history repeats itself, if you're the first quarterback taken, you have a legitimate chance to be a top 10 pick."
With the top pick, it all comes down to whether the Carolina Panthers, who hold the number one pick, want a quarterback. They drafted QB Jimmy Clausen in the second round last year but he struggled in his rookie season. The Panthers were reportedly interested in Luck before he decided to stay at Stanford. That suggests they have some interest in quarterback though it's not clear if they were interested only because it was Luck, who was considered the top quarterback prospect by a long shot. Many recent NFL mock drafts have the Panthers going defense so perhaps that's where they're leaning.
However it shakes out, the chances of Gabbert becoming a top 10 pick are looking good. By many accounts, he'll be one of the first two quarterbacks taken which likely means a top 10 pick. It's just a matter of who wants to pull the trigger.
The Washington Redskins are expected to enter the 2011 NFL season without QB Donovan McNabb, who has a large bonus due to him at the start of the season. It's unclear exactly what the Redskins plans are at quarterback but many are predicting McNabb is not part of those plans.
So the Redskins need a quarterback. If they look at SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft, they'll find their next quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Mike Shanahan appears to have a short-term starter for his team in Rex Grossman - who'd have guessed we'd be reading that sentence a year ago? - but the team still lacks a long-term answer. Gabbert isn't ready to play by any stretch, but he's got the tools and the smarts to eventually be a good player in Shanahan's system.
While I think it's best most, if not all rookie quarterbacks get some time on the bench first, I think Gabbert could make an impact early. He's not QB Sam Bradford by any means but he has some skills that could help him contribute quickly.
In this mock draft, Gabbert is the second quarterback taken behind Auburn QB Cam Newton, who went eighth to the Tennessee Titans. I could also see one of those quarterbacks going to the Arizona Cardinals at the fifth spot.
Quarterbacks have gone No. 1 overall eight out of the past 10 years. CAA, which represents Gabbert, has represented seven of the past eight overall No. 1 picks. Despite playing in a spread offense at Missouri, Gabbert is the top-rated quarterback and is the kind of player Carolina could sell to its fans.
This was unfathomable two weeks ago when Stanford QB Andrew Luck was still in the picture. Now that he's staying in school you can expect to see some chatter for Gabbert and the top overall pick.
Panthers fans at SB Nation's Cat Scratch Reader noticed this projection which perked their ears.
If you've been keeping up with the trends thus far you'll know that Gabbert has meteorically risen up the draft board since Andrew Luck decided to return to school, and typically this seems like the usual 'we need a QB!' panic. However, when pro-scouts are telling SI's Don Banks about the traits of Gabbert and respected analysts Mike Mayock and Todd McShay are sold on him one has to wonder.
The Missouri Tigers are losing QB Blaine Gabbert and some NFL team, likely in the first round, will have a new face for their franchise. Quarterbacks taken in the first round and potentially the top 10, as Gabbert is expected to go, are quickly expected to become "the man" for that team.
That will include Gabbert next April in the NFL draft. 2011 NFL mock draft have Gabbert going anywhere from the third overall pick to the end of the first round.
SB Nation's latest mock draft has Gabbert landing at the 10th pick with the Washington Redskins.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Mike Shanahan tried the veteran quarterback route in 2010, and now Donovan McNabb is on his way out of D.C. Expect the Redskins to stick with Rex Grossman in the short-term while Shanahan works with another project.
Gabbert would be lucky to work with Shanahan because I think he would do a lot to make him successful. The Redskins aren't expected to bring Donovan McNabb back meaning that spot will be open in 2011.
Gabbert could do a lot worse than working with Shanahan.
Stanford has announced QB Andrew Luck is returning to school and will not be entering his name in the 2011 NFL draft. This is an incredibly shocking turn of events as Luck had been all but guaranteed of the top spot. Assuming he does indeed decide to stay in school, then it's possible we're looking at Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert as the top QB in the 2011 NFL draft class.
Gabbert is ranked by ESPN's Todd McShay as the second best quarterback ahead of guys like Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton. McShay hasn't been the most accurate projecting quarterbacks (Jake Locker anyone?) so take it for what it's worth but I think it's safe to say that Gabbert is in the conversation with those other guys for the top quarterback spot now that Luck is staying in school.
Gabbert has a lot of likes for you to like. He seems like a good, well-rounded person, has the size to be an NFL QB and has the arm strength. He started for two years at Missouri and made the decision last week to enter his name into the 2011 NFL draft.
We're not sure where the quarterbacks will go in the draft now. It was assumed the Panthers would take Luck No. 1 overall but now that he's gone, would they consider Gabbert? That seems hard to comprehend but it does mean Gabbert is likely going to be a serious player in the top 10 this year.
This is a big time turn of events that will benefit Blaine Gabbert.
2011 NFL mock draft talk is upon us as Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert has announced he has declared for the draft. That brings up all sorts of questions for Gabbert moving forward.
What was his NFL draft advisory board grade? Players can submit their names to the NFL draft advisory board for a realistic look at where they might land. This is important because the draftniks in the media can be wrong. Last year, Todd McShay said Jake Locker could be the top quarterback taken but the NFL draft advisory board had him as a second round grade, which is why he stayed in school. If Gabbert is going pro, he likely got a first round grade. Gary Pinkel has said if players get a first round grade they should usually leave.
Where does he rank among the quarterbacks? We know Andrew Luck is the top quarterback and he may go No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. ESPN's Todd McShay has Gabbert rated as the No. 2 quarterback behind Luck and ahead of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett. We know that Luck is the top quarterback but after that it's hard to realistically separate the other three.
Who will draft him? ESPN' Todd McShay says he'll go to the Arizona Cardinals at the fifth spot. That seems a little high but if he is indeed the second quarterback taken it's probably accurate. There could be two quarterbacks taken in the top 10 and, if Gabbert is No. 2, then he'll be one of them.
The Missouri Tigers learned this week that QB Blaine Gabbert would be leaving Mizzou and headed pro to the 2011 NFL draft. We didn't really have a firm idea on whether he'd leave or not but once we saw guys like ESPN's Todd McShay hyping him as the second QB taken, we knew he would probably go.
Gabbert released a statement on Monday announcing the news.
"This is definitely a bittersweet day for me, I was really looking forward to having a chance to do some special things next season with my teammates, but in the end, this is the right decision to make for myself and my family," Gabbert said in the release.
"These last three years have been an unbelievable experience for me, and I'll miss being at Mizzou, but I'm definitely looking forward to this next stage of my life. I'm so grateful to have been part of such a great program and all of the people who have helped me get to this point, and now I have to take what I've learned, and build on that for the next level. I'll always be a Tiger, and I look forward to watching the guys do big things in the future," he said.
Gabbert talked immediately after the Insight Bowl loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes and talked Mizzou being great next year so that had some wondering if that was a hint he's staying. Apparently not.
That's not the case. Mizzou announced on Monday that Gabbert is entering his name into the 2011 NFL draft. He's gone.
Gabbert was one of several Tigers to enter their name to the NFL draft advisory board which gives them an idea of where they'll be selected. Head coach Gary Pinkel has suggested that if someone is going to be a first round pick it's probably a good idea that he leave.
We're not sure if this means that Gabbert has been told he'll be a first-round pick but his name is being thrown about as the second, third or fourth quarterback taken after Stanford's Andrew Luck.
Gabbert has the experience (two years starting), the numbers and the size to compete in the NFL. He has a strong arm, is surprisingly mobile and comes off as a smart player. There are a lot of things to like about him.
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