Six months ago, Sports Illustrated writer Andrew Perloff projected that Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was a Top 10 NFL Draft choice next April. That is, if he declared for the draft. Now that Bowl Season is officially upon us, it seems the right time to look back at whether Perloff's prediction looks close or not after another season at the helm.
To remind you in case you missed it, the original article also had Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett at the overall No. 1 position and says Andrew Luck, if he comes out, might have been No. 1 as well. He also has Washington's Jack Locker in the Top 10 as well, so you're talking about an analyst who loves the quarterback class coming out. That aside, he describes Gabbert at the No. 9 position:
The knock on Gabbert will be the Missouri system that helped Chase Daniel put up huge numbers. But because of his size (6-foot-5, 240 pounds), Gabbert is a different kind of prospect than Daniel and teams will believe more in the stats.
Already, Gabbert and a few other Tigers have filled out the necessary paperwork for the NFL to at least get a read on where they will fall. Gabbert has until January 15 to declare, so there's still some time to decide but fans will know soon either way.
Gabbert's stats dropped off quite a bit from last season, so it's hard to tell just how scouts will read him. In 2009, his first full season as a starter, Gabbert completed 59% of his passes for 3,500 yards and a TD/INT ratio of 24/9. That's an impressive first year in the Big 12. This season, however, Gabbert's completed the same number of passes at a slightly higher percentage (62) for over 800 less yards (2752) and only 15 touchdowns to go with 7 interceptions. He's also taken two more sacks than last year, from 19 to 21 this season.
In games against Texas Tech and Nebraska, Gabbert didn't even show up. Specifically in the Tech contest, Gabbert went 12 for 30 for 95 yards and a 66.60 passer rating. In another odd performance, the season ending slaughter of Kansas found Gabbert throwing two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Yet it's his pro level performance against San Diego State, Colorado and Texas A&M that have scouts excited about the possibilities. In the game at Texas A&M, Gabbert threw 31 for 47 for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns -- quite a showing on the road.
Certainly, supply and demand are a big part of the equation, so Gabbert should be thankful that the quarterback position is still quite shaky for so many teams. The Panthers, Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Titans, Redskins, Vikings, Seahawks and possibly even the Broncos (depending on what the new coaching regime thinks of Tim Tebow) will be picking high and looking for their new QB. That's a lot of shoppers in the same aisle.