nearly as coordinated in the pocket with his footwork. Struggles to keep a consistently compact and balanced base and too often gets too wide with his footwork when trying to throw the football and transfer his weight from his back foot to his front.
Doesn't look real comfortable getting the ball out on time from the gun and will have a bit of a learning curve taking snaps and dropping from center. Also, has some wasted motion in his delivery, and when trying to get the ball out on time in the short passing game he displays a slight wind up. Really struggles with his accuracy/timing at times because of these deficiencies underneath. However, possesses a good mental clock and knows when the ball needs to come out. But is limited to reading more of just one side of the field, isn't a guy who routinely is able to scan his way across the entire field and find secondary options. Has a tendency to read one side and if nothing is on, he automatically looks to flush himself from the pocket the other way, drops his eye level and limits his ability to get rid of the football.
Possesses a strong arm, spins a clean football and has the arm strength to make all the throws. Looks a lot more comfortable in the intermediate pass game where he has time to get into his drop, hitch into the throw and get the ball out on time. Displays good anticipation skills when he knows where he wants to go with the football, exhibiting good ball placement, especially outside the numbers.
Showcases natural arm strength on the move and has the kind of touch to drop bucket throws into the outstretched hands of receivers vertically. Also, does a nice job keeping his eyes down the field once he breaks contain and can throw accurately on the run. However, is a bit lethargic with his footwork when he has time to set his feet and throw, consistently throwing off balance, making passes sail on him.
Impression: A big, strong-armed passer with above-average athletic ability for his size. Still is maturing in his ability to scan the entire field and his footwork is going to need work. But the skill set is there to warrant a potential starting grade, but he is far from a sure thing in my book."
Arm Strength: Has a solid NFL arm and throws a tight spiral, giving him the capability to stretch the field horizontally and vertically. Threads the ball between the corner and safety against cover-two and needles the ball through tight windows over the middle. Flashes nice touch on seam throws to the tight end. Needs to throttle down a bit more consistently; will overthrow passes in close proximity and sail sideline patterns.
Setup/Release: Generally balanced, sometimes throwing from his back foot. Pats the ball to keep rhythm on long throws. Looks the part of a pocket passer, standing tall in the pocket. Usually has a quick release, almost whipping the ball out. Winds up and double-clutches on occasion, but still releases the ball quickly. Completes downfield passes with traffic around him, but will short-arm throws and panic with pressure coming straight at him. Does not feel backside pressure well. Can get happy feet against a strong defense, though he will re-set his feet and deliver at times. Almost always in the shotgun formation, must master the traditional snap from center. When not taking one step back and firing a short throw, gets a bit long with his final drop step making it difficult to transition back forward and leaving him susceptible to pass rush.
Reading Defenses: Will take time to transition to the NFL because he runs the typical spread offense. Only reads one receiver on many plays, or even half of one side of the field. Stares down receivers and defenders read him easily. Does not look for secondary receivers, tends to take off instead. Fails to see blitzes coming consistently, even when they aren't disguised.
On the Move: Nice athlete for a quarterback his size, makes plays outside the pocket and able to pick up more than a first down on the run. Shows some elusiveness in the pocket, but chooses to run outside rather than step up to find a receiver. Falls forward for first downs, but must learn how to push the pile on sneaks. Willing to throw the ball away if nothing is available. Good mobility outside the pocket, but gets inconsistent in his accuracy and makes some poor decisions because he gets impatient. Is not overly elusive, will not escape NFL pockets and tackles as easily as he is able to do in college. Needs to learn how to slide.
Intangibles: Respected leader in the locker room. Has the confidence to win over the huddle. Willing to put in the time in the film room to master the offense. Very competitive, gives full effort on the field. Played only five games as a high school senior because of foot and shoulder injuries."
Arm strength: Has an exceptionally strong arm that helps him complete passes to all areas of the field. Throws a quick, tight spiral on shorter routes but doesn’t try and laser the ball through his receiver.
Athleticism/mobility: Gabbert has shown plenty that he’s more mobile than his size may indicate. Obviously he’s not Jake Locker, but that’s not a bad thing. Gabbert has the maneuverability to not only get around in the pocket, but pull the ball and run. Sometimes, though, he is too quick to bail on a play and try to make something happen with his feet. Also runs into trouble trying to throw after he commits to running.
Decision making: Coming out a spread system, Gabbert doesn’t have to make a lot complicated decisions with the football. Particularly, he doesn’t make his own check downs at the line of scrimmage. While you don’t expect a college junior to be Peyton Manning pre-snap, you have to wonder how well Gabbert will be able to go through his reads. Will he be able to tell when a safety is faking or blitz only to drop back or if a lineman is working in zone blitz coverage underneath?
Field vision: Is typically asked to go through only one read in the Missouri system. Will need a lot of training camp and practice repetitions to improve this flaw. However, when that one read is open, he can hit it. Has carved defenses up with pro-style nine routes and crosses. Will need to do much better trusting his check downs instead of looking for the deep ball. Gabbert’s draft placement may hinge somewhat on how he interviews and breaks down plays for coaches on the dry erase board.
Mechanics: Gabbert’s release is just as quick as any quarterback in this year’s draft class and perhaps his best asset. It’s a compact, fluid motion that doesn’t windup. Will likely need to refine his drop back since he’s taken a majority of his snaps from the shotgun. Got better with his footwork as a junior, but needs more consistently plant his feet when he throws.
Pocket awareness: This is where Gabbert will need to improve. He doesn’t have the best poise when he feels the rush around him and will start moving his feet around him. Needs to trust his linemen more and sit back in the pocket. At the same time, there were occasions in games this year where Gabbert held the ball too long and got sacked. The bottom line here is that he has to improve mental clock of when exactly he needs to release the ball. With his quick throwing motion, Gabbert could be a star if he rectifies this area of his game. Played in a system with a long line using deep splits.
Final word: As a pocket passer, Gabbert is loaded with potential. The first noticeable thing about Gabbert is his size. He maybe a legit 6-foot-5 and has and NFL frame at 235 pounds. His arm strength is at a top level, he gets great ball placement and his throwing motion is crisp and sound. Some of the bigger concerns about Gabbert – coming from a spread where he doesn’t have to make many reads – are disconcerting but coachable. Because of that, Gabbert may be the kind of quarterback who is taken in round one but could be better served with a year as a backup."
With Luck out, Gabbert's stock rises.
Gabbert chose Missouri in hopes of being a star in their highly touted spread offense. He played in just a few games his freshman year, behind Chase Daniel, only to be groomed to start in 2009.
Gabbert put up solid numbers in 2009, and was in the talks as a Heisman sleeper for 2010. While he hasn’t had the production in 2010 that many pro scouts would love to see, he has delivered in terms of overall mechanics and intangibles, making him a highly touted prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Gabbert’s biggest strengths are his mechanics. He may be the most technically sound quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has a quick release, and has very solid footwork, often being quite fluid in his throwing motion.
His arm strength is exceptional as he can make all of the NFL throws, and he does a nice job of fitting the ball into tight spots on passes of 15+ yards. His mobility isn’t anything to write home about, but he can move around in the pocket a little bit as needed.
His production in his last two seasons hasn’t been phenomenal, but he’s managed to improve on his short-intermediate accuracy, and has become a leader despite starting as a true sophomore. Gabbert seems to have the intangibles that coaches at the next level want, and he plays smart football.
Over the next few months one of the biggest cons one will hear about Gabbert is the fact that he is a system quarterback. In the Missouri spread, he often doesn’t have to see the entire field, generally making just one or two reads and getting the ball out.
In the NFL, he will need to improve his pocket awareness, and see the field better to make smart throws in case his top option is gone. His decision making has been somewhat errant at times, as he can be a bit of a risk taker, sometimes too confident in his ability to sling the ball into tight spots.
He will need to understand an NFL playbook a little more, and improve on how to read a defense, but there’s no doubt that he has all the tools to succeed at the next level.
Gabbert entered the 2010 season as a 5th-7th round pick. While he hasn’t put up huge numbers in his junior campaign, his poise and improvements as an overall quarterback have made him project as high as the third overall pick in the draft. With a good workout in February, Gabbert could compete for the number one pick, especially with Andrew Luck not entering the NFL Draft.
Gabbert will compete with fellow quarterbacks Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, and Cam Newton for the top quarterback spot in the 2011 NFL Draft. Look for teams like Buffalo, Carolina, San Francisco, and Arizona to target him heavily, all teams which have a Top 10 pick in 2011.
NFL Comparison: Tony Romo"
Positive: Athletic passer who's made progress the past two seasons and offers a good amount of upside. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and remains poised under pressure. Does not force the ball into covered receivers, takes the safe underneath outlet, and displays the arm strength to make all the throws. Makes proper decisions, will get rid the ball rather than making errant passes, and reacts well under pressure. Possesses a quick release and fires the ball through the tight spots. Places the ball in front of receivers and lets them run to it. Displays good timing on outs. Puts touch on throws when necessary. Strong enough to withstand the rush and get the pass off with defenders draped on him. Throws with an over-the-top delivery. Recognizes defenses and finds the open seams in zone coverage.
Negative: Must be more consistent with his throwing technique. Releases the ball off his back foot, which results in passes being high of the mark. Very inconsistent with his footwork throwing the ball. Tends to stare down the primary target on occasion. Can pick up yardage with his legs but is not great escaping pressure. Occasionally relies on his arm to make plays, which results in dangerous throws. Takes most of his snaps from the shotgun.
Analysis: Gabbert has grown as a quarterback and showed terrific improvement the past two years. He's a leader on the field and possesses all the skills to be a starter in the NFL. Gabbert must improve the consistency of his fundamentals rather than relying on his arm strength alone to make plays if he ever going to be a productive starter at the next level."
Negatives: Accuracy is hot and cold... When he's off, he starts missing easy passes, overthrows short routes, and gets frustrated... Footwork falls apart when he's under pressure, tends to throw off-balance... Needs to learn when to throw the ball away, takes too many risks going for the big play... Plays in a spread offense where he takes most of his snaps from the shotgun... Needs to put a little more touch on some of his throws... Is a bit of a project, will need time to learn how to take snaps under center."
Strengths: Big and athletic with ideal NFL measurables. Tall and strong with a big arm and a high release point. Can make all the throws. Deadly accurate on short and medium passes. Gets the ball out quickly and on time. Delivers the ball into tight windows. Throws a catchable pass. Tough and will stand in versus pressure and take a hit. Good runner with deceptive speed, and can pick up first downs with his legs. Winner who makes those around him better.
Weaknesses: Plays from a the spread so he'll need time to adapt to NFL style offense. Not used to taking snaps from under center nor is he schooled on the footwork required on five and seven step drops. Only a junior and only started for two seasons.
Projection: Likely the first quarterback chosen and a top-ten, potentially top-five pick. Has all the tools to be great; up to him how good he becomes."
After spending his freshman campaign learning behind Chase Daniel, Gabbert stepped into a starting role in 2009. During that season Gabbert put up some big numbers. That was in small part due to presence of Danario Alexander who himself had 1,781 receiving yards. On the year Gabbert threw for 3,593 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also threw nine interceptions, a number that decreased to seven this season.
Gabbert has submitted the paperwork to the NFL Advisory Committee to see where he may land if he opts to go pro a year early. At 6-5 and 235 pounds, Gabbert has the look of an NFL quarterback. He is tall enough to see over most defenders and see where passing lanes are opening up and he has the accurate arm needed to make those passes. Missouri has flown under the radar a little bit this year, but Gabbert has all the tools to be an NFL quarterback, but he may need to come back to school for another year to get the national respect he deserves."
However, he has great stature, the arm strength to zing it into small windows off his back foot and intriguing agility for his size — all reasons to believe he could do more than what he is asked to do in the Tigers' system. He has battled through a right hip pointer and is a strong competitor with a confident on-field demeanor. He does lock onto receivers and vacates the pocket prematurely under duress and could require patience to adjust to progression reads in a pro-style offense. He has undeniable upside.."
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, I don't give a rat's ass about how far he can throw it on a wire, or how fast he runs the 40: Anyone who thinks that those Skills are the most critical ones in assessing a QuarterBack's ability to lead a team to a Championship have overlooked the last 90 years of History.
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, 90% of my evaluation derives from comments on his Processing Speed, his Decision Making, his Field Vision, his Pocket Presence, and his Mechanics.
Blaine Gabbert scares the HELL out of me. His Pocket Presence is horrific...And that is in a Spread Offense, where he plays Shot Gun and is generally only asked to go with one read!!
If he's going to pieces in an Offense where he has all the time in the world to make the play, and only a fraction of the reads to process through before making a decision, I'm here to tell you that his career could be an extremely short nightmare!!
Needless to say, his Processing Speed, his Decision Making, and his Field Vision are severely undeveloped at best, and atrocious, at worst. And if it was simply a matter of experience and training, I find it very hard to believe that he'd be having such ugly issues, playing the incredibly simplified and Passer Friendly Offense he ran this year.
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