Scouting Report: If I went to the football Gods and said build me the ideal physical specimen to be an NFL quarterback, the result would probably look a lot like the Missouri Tigers Blaine Gabbert. He's downright physically imposing. And on top of that, he's much more athletic and fast than his build would lead you to believe. Keep in mind the kid is nearly 6'5" and 240lbs.
In terms of his ability to play quarterback, what I see of him, it's a bit of a mixed bag. He's got good arm strength made better, no much better, when he's got his feet set. Meaning while he does a great job escaping the pocket, and rolling out, throwing on the run isn't his forte. He has a nice compact motion and while it's a little side armed, his height makes up for that. He really has two areas that are troubling for me in terms of his throws. First, he tries to throw way too hard at times. He's going to have to learn when to take a little off and make a touch throw instead of always trying to bring the heater. Second, it's in his reads. He plays in a wonky spread passing offense and as I've talked about here for years, this creates a learning curve in terms of reads, picking up receivers and defenders after having your back to them during playaction, and playing in a much smaller window. One criticism you hear of Gabbert is that he forces throws. While that may be true, I think some of his bad throws are more a function of not being able to read defenses. Not picking up a deep safety or a dropping linebacker, things like that.
Draft Status: The notion, as Todd McShay has asserted, that Gabbert may be not only the best QB in the country but the number 1 overall pick, makes me sad for this quarterback class. I think Gabbert has easily enough to make him a first round pick, but I can't agree he's worthy of the top selection. I'd put him somewhere firmly in the middle of the first round, but plan to sit him a year or two to learn a pro style offense.
Final Analysis: Gabbert seems like a quality young man, intelligent and grounded. And I never feel like I am losing IQ points when I read his tweets. Yeah, I am talking to you Marvin Austin. Gabbert has a ton of physical tools to work with, more than any other QB in this draft and that makes him tempting. But the NFL game is going to be fast for him. He doesn't play with a lot of anticipation, he makes throws late and gets away with it in college. He's going to have to do a much better job at pre-snap reads, reading defenses during the play, and making quicker decisions. All these things are very much coachable and Gabbert is a smart player who works hard so he'll learn.
Reminds me of: Josh Freeman QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Freeman was a big physical ahtletic player coming into the NFL but very raw and unpolished. We've seen big improvements in Freeman in his second season, and I can see Gabbert following a similar path.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy