Introducing Blaine Gabbert, Andrew Luck's Replacement As 2011 NFL Draft's Top QB

Andrew Luck will be staying at Stanford, thus robbing the 2011 NFL Draft board of its likely number one-ranked QB prospect. This means Todd McShay will have to find a new shining golden boy of a quarterback to stalk 24/7 and slather with laurels, and the lucky recipient of McShay and other draftniks' affections becomes Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert.

What is this Blaine Gabbert? On the positive side, Gabbert is a junior quarterback with all of the tangibles cookie-cutter pro scouts adore. He stands 6-5, tall enough to scan the field without jumping Flutie-style to read the defense. He has a strong but not awe-inspiring arm, is capable of throwing the deep out, and has nice footwork. He has been durable, displayed the requisite leadership skills as a vocal chieftain of the Tigers team, and had been productive in his two years as a starter. He won 18 games in two years, and had a substantial amount to do with that record. 

Gabbert does also have a number of potential red flags for scouts. He is coming out as a junior, a move largely considered a no-no for quarterbacks in the draft. He does play in an offense operating out of the shotgun spread, a formation relatively few NFL teams use with any real consistency. He is fond of good food, as evidenced by his Twitter feed, which is good in that he likes to take care of himself, and bad because idiot sportswriters will accuse him of caring more about the quality of his dinner meats than film study after he throws three interceptions in a game his rookie year.

in summary: he's a fine first round pick for a team, and is not Andrew Luck, but he is still superb, with the biggest concerns centering on his mental adjustment to a pro-style offense. Physically speaking, he's just your average six and a half foot tall ball-launching machine with above average field intelligence and the necessary physical skills to play a game one out of every hundred thousand people is suited to play. Ho-hum.

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