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.