Pros: Played in the shotgun at Missouri, but Gabbert — like Joe Flacco — seems to have the tools to transcend the easy negative categorizations automatically given to spread offense quarterbacks. Looks comfortable in three-, five-, and seven-step drops, sets up very well mechanically for the throw. He has no problem making intermediate stick throws (18-25 yards) under pressure or when rolling out; his arm doesn't lose velocity when he's on the move. Keeps his eyes downfield when running.
Gabbert has excellent anticipation when throwing any kind of crossing route — he generally throws his receivers open. Can throw hard on a line and will get the ball into tight windows — he has already developed this extremely valuable skill. Sells play-action reasonably well the few times he's asked to do so. Throws darts underneath with a nice, compact motion; his delivery gets a little out of hand on longer throws at times. Big enough (6-foot-5, 235 pounds) to absorb hits in the pocket or on the run, though he'll be told by his coaches to live to fight another day on certain types of plays at the next level.
Cons: His last five games are points of concern. Gabbert completed just 53 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Needs to tighten up a delivery that can get long and sloppy at times. Occasionally makes inaccurate arm throws, a common problem with spread quarterbacks (Cam Newton(notes) does the same thing).
Can read across the field, but it's a little frantic — so many of his college formations were trips, quads and stacks to one side. He's used to having the advantage with those sets and he tends to use motion to create time to find open receivers instead of sitting in the pocket and using progressions. Has arm strength enough to throw across his body, but such throws are generally inaccurate at this point. Not a pure runner in the traditional spread style — tends to be slow to get up to speed and is blocky on the run and in space.
What he brings to the team: Gabbert is closest to success in a pro-style (heavy on the shotgun) offense because he's got command of different types of intermediate throws, and he's got the kind of arm strength that can be honed by the right kind of coaching. Add in his excellent mobility and ability to roll out of the pocket and make every throw with both feet on the ground, and Gabbert looks more and more like an exceptional pro prospect.
He'll have to learn the things spread quarterbacks don't do that often — snaps under center, play-fakes and play-action — but as the NFL goes more shotgun, Gabbert looks more and more like a sooner-than-later pro quarterback.
Is it the right pick? Well, it's an interesting one, and may signal a sea change in Jacksonville's offensive concepts. The Jags like a mobile quarterback, but they'll no doubt be running more shotgun now. Also, David Garrard(notes) is now firmly on the market.
The rest of the top-10 picks
• 1. Cam Newton -- Carolina Panthers
• 2. Von Miller -- Denver Broncos
• 3. Marcell Dareus -- Buffalo Bills
• 4. A.J. Green -- Cincinnati Bengals
• 5. Patrick Peterson -- Arizona Cardinals
• 6. Julio Jones -- Atlanta Falcons
• 7. Aldon Smith -- San Francisco 49ers
• 8. Jake Locker -- Tennessee Titans
• 9. Tyron Smith -- Dallas Cowboys
Posted Jul 2 2012
Posted Jul 3 2012
Posted Jun 21 2012