Mel Kiper didn’t like the Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 NFL Draft haul and specifically its first round move to get former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert last spring. After the results of the Jags quarterback’s first NFL season, his opinion clearly hasn’t changed. Yet as Kiper looks back over year one of the 2011 NFL Draft classes, he does believe that Gabbert still has a chance to make good if he can get some playmakers around him.
“I gave this draft a low grade in April because, at that point, a lot of it had to do with value juxtaposed against need,” writes Kiper. "If you get great value relative to the other teams on the board, you get some points for maximizing the board and the order. I wrote, ‘Bottom line: This draft will be viewed through the prism of [Blaine] Gabbert and whether he succeeds. I think he has a shot but needs time to develop.’
“Suffice to say, I don’t think throwing Gabbert in there with a lack of legit passing targets was a great idea given his developmental needs,” he continues. “I still think Gabbert has a shot because he has a lot of good physical tools and can be very accurate, but I hope the experience of this season is something he grows from and isn’t a developmental setback.”
Gabbert had a 65.4 passer rating in his rookie season with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.