Blaine Gabbert needs to make big strides this year to stay the face of the Jaguars’ future. (Credit: Stephen Morton/AP)
To say Blaine Gabbert has had a rough start to his NFL career might be an understatement. The 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Gabbert has compiled an underwhelming 5-19 record, 53.8 completion percentage, and 21 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.
Despite having to fend off competition from backup Chad Henne, Gabbert is still the guy in Jacksonville. Still, it’d be hard to believe that Gabbert isn’t on a very short leash with the team. The recent remodeling of rookie contracts would make it easier for the Jags to cut Gabbert and go a new direction if he doesn’t progress in the next year or two.
Oddly enough, Gabbert’s play to this point has drawn high praise from new quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. Marc Sessler of NFL Around the League reports that Scelfo is enamored with the young quarterback and thinks he is better than any quarterback from his draft class.
“If you graded him out right now, this is his draft class. If he were coming out — and the quarterback draft class the way it is — would he be the top guy taken? I think the answer is yes,” Scelfo told The Florida Times-Union.
“Ask the scouting departments and the general managers around the league and I think you would end up with a yes on that. Basically at his age, 23, the No. 1 pick in the draft with two years of experience already under his belt. That’s pretty good.”
Scelfo’s comments could be called ambitious. The 2011 draft has produced two great dual-threat quarterbacks in Cam Newton, taken nine picks before Gabbert by Carolina, and Colin Kaepernick, who was selected 26 picks after Gabbert by San Francisco. Kaepernick might be considered better than Newton at this point after leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but Newton’s supporting cast is much weaker in Carolina. Add in the competition from Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder and that’s four quarterbacks who this writer would draft ahead of Gabbert in a hypothetical 2011 redraft.
Five or six years ago, this level of success Gabbert has attained could be deemed acceptable. But after seeing what young quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Dalton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson have done for their teams, Gabbert will need to make significant strides to stay the face of the Jaguars’ future.
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