Gabbert Deal Should Caution Teams Looking to Reach for a Quarterback

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Four quarterbacks were taken in the first 12 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft. Of the lot, only first overall selection Cam Newton has emerged as anything more than a bust. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert 10th overall, it’s another lesson in the trivial pursuit that is reaching for a franchise signal caller. Today, just three seasons later, the team shipped Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth round draft choice. Not exactly a successful investment for one of the worst franchises in professional sports.

At the time of his selection, Gabbert was heralded as a raw talent with the tools to thrive in the league. At Mizzou, the 6-4 signal caller burst onto the scene during his sophomore campaign. Two years later, he elected to forgo his senior season and enter the draft. Thanks to a strong combine in which Gabbert ran an impressive 4.61 forty yard dash, the gunslinger soared up the charts, eventually being considered to go as high as second or third overall. When Jacksonville grabbed him at 10, many “experts” considered the selection a steal. In the end, the only one stealing anything were Gabbert and his agents.

Granted, the youngster wasn’t exactly surrounded by weapons in Florida. But, his lack of progression from one year to the next was evident. Jacksonville’s faith in the kid was clearly eroding when they elected to start Chad Henne over him in 2012 and 2013. By the end of the season, it was clear that Gabbert no longer had a future in the organization.

Situations like this occur every couple of years, and it begs the question as to why teams are so foolhardy in reaching for “toolsy talents” at the quarterback position. If there’s one thing that we’ve realized over the last two decades, it’s that awareness and a strong foundation is more important than physical tools. For teams interested in reaching for talents like Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, or Derek Carr, the Gabbert situation should give them significant pause.

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