After all of the smoke has cleared and the distractions are put away, fans should not forget that the quarterback rules above all else in the National Football League. And in the end, that makes Blaine Gabbert a prime target in tonight's first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. That being said, even with the labor drama making trades much more difficult to execute, it's not a stretch that some team will shake things up via trade and grab the Missouri quarterback.
Rick Gosselin, sportswriter for the Dallas Morning News, has the Redskins trying to do just that as he releases his first-round mock. He writes, "Mike Shanahan is not going to enter a second season with Donovan McNabb, so the Redskins spent all day Wednesday trying to move up. Gabbert was the target." He believes they will select Florida State's Christian Ponder at the No. 10 position, a clear reach when compared to most believing Ponder's a fringe first-rounder at best. Then again, those are the lengths teams will go to when addressing the quarterback position.
This reality places teams like Denver or Buffalo in the driver's seat in this year's draft. Cam Newton appears all but gone to Carolina with the first overall choice, but after that, it's anybody's guess. The pundits will have you believe defensive playmakers like Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus are at the top of the draft. Even more surprisingly, the thought that two wide receivers are being chosen above quarterbacks in today's NFL seems almost laughable. That's not a knock against A.J. Green or Julio Jones in the slightest, but instead it's a statement that seems to forget who stands atop the pyramid of importance in roster building.
Gosselin says the Redskins are trying to trade up, but it wouldn't surprise me if even more teams were doing so as well -- from the Miami Dolphins to the Minnesota Vikings. A franchise-caliber quarterback is there for the taking and even if you have questions concerning Gabbert's game, you still take that risk rather than run through another season without any hope for the future at the quarterback position. Just ask the Detroit Lions how much they won taking Calvin Johnson atop any draft.