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.