Expectations Low For Former Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert In NFL Rookie Season

Expect the Jags to be patient with their new (eventual) face of the franchise.

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Expectations Low For Former Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert In NFL Rookie Season

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.

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Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio Must Win With Blaine Gabbert Or Else

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.

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Blaine Gabbert Surprise Selection At No. 10 By Jacksonville Jaguars

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?

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Blaine Gabbert Now Top Quarterback On NFL Draft Boards With Cam Newton Selection

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.

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Mel Kiper Has Blaine Gabbert Falling To 49ers In 2011 NFL Draft

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.

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Blaine Gabbert's Selection Range Is Widening As NFL Draft Approaches

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.

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2011 NFL Mock Drafts Say Blaine Gabbert To Cincy

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.

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2011 NFL Draft: Dissecting The Supposed Fade Of Blaine Gabbert

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.

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Blaine Gabbert Sliding Below Cam Newton In Several Mock Drafts

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.

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Blaine Gabbert Overwhelming Favorite To Go No. 1 In USA Today NFL Mock Draft

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.

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Blaine Gabbert Ranks At No. 12 On Mel Kiper's Big Board

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.

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NFL Mock Draft: Blaine Gabbert Taken First Overall By Carolina Panthers

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.

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2011 NFL Draft: Blaine Gabbert Could Be Carson Palmer's Replacement

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.

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Todd McShay Says Blaine Gabbert In Same Class As Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez

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.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Blaine Gabbert Heading To Carolina Panthers

The latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft has been unveiled over at SB Nation and there’s a new surprise awaiting at the top of the draft order: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

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.

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2011 NFL Draft: Blaine Gabbert Compares With Joe Flacco

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.

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2011 NFL Draft: Volatility of Blaine Gabbert's Stock Seen In Recent Mocks

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.”

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2011 NFL Draft: Titans Overhaul Should Benefit QB Class And Blaine Gabbert

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.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Blaine Gabbert Part Of Overall Quarterback Slide?

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.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Accuracy In Question For QB Blaine Gabbert

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.

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