2011 NFL Draft: Why Blaine Gabbert Won't Live Up to The Hype

Keenan WomackContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 30: Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 get crunched by the Nebraska Cornhusker Defense near the goal line during second half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Missouri 31-17. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

After Andrew Luck declared, no doubt to the horror of the Carolina Panthers, that he would remain at Stanford instead of going pro after his redshirt-sophomore year, NFL analysts frantically rifled through scouting reports, trying desperately to answer the question: Who is the top quarterback prospect of 2010-2011?

With no clear-cut top prospect, no Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez, NFL scouts settled with Blaine Gabbert, a 6’5", 235 pound senior who played for pass-happy Missouri in college.

With ideal NFL size and arm strength, in addition to a pass-first offense, any top-tier quarterback should be able to put up mind-blowing college numbers, right?

Apparently not—Gabbert managed a mediocre 16 touchdown, nine interception season, a season that saw him go 12 for 30 (40 percent completion) in a loss against a very sub-par Texas Tech team.

But his struggles didn’t end there.

He completed just under 55% of his passes against San Diego State, where he threw one touchdown and two interceptions.

In Missouri’s game against the Kansas Jayhawks, the same Jayhawks that lost to FCS North Dakota State at the beginning of the season, Gabbert tossed a pair of picks and failed to throw for a score.

During a loss in Lincoln to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Tiger quarterback completed 18 of his 42 pass attempts, good for a 43 percent completion rate.

I could go on, but I’ve made my point. Despite fitting the description of an NFL quarterback with his size and arm strength, Gabbert failed to impress—even in the college ranks.

In his best-case scenario, Gabbert would be Kerry Collins; at worst, Ryan Leaf. Whatever ill-advised team drafts Gabbert in the first round will receive in return an average to below-average output. 

But hey, in Carolina, average quarterback play would be quite a step up.