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.