12 April 2011

Who Will Draft Blaine Gabbert?

I'm feeling pretty certain that the Carolina Panthers will select Cam Newton with the top pick. The Newton going number one rumor has gotten a lot of momentum of late and that is how I think they will go. So what does that need for the other top quarterback prospect, Blaine Gabbert from Missouri? Here is my analysis of the teams that could draft him.
I would be stunned if Gabbert fell out of the top ten, à la Aaron Rodges of Brady Quinn, because there are multiple teams that need a quarterback. So here we go.

3. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are always a tough team to project a pick for because they have been known to pull picks out of left field. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer long-term in Buffalo. The Bills have needed to develop a franchise quarterback for years. Gabbert has the strong arm to play in Orchard Park and has plus mobility, which Chan Gailey craves. But I think the Bills may pass and take a quarterback in the second round, and if they do that then Colin Kaepernick would be a perfect fit.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
Everyone knows that Carson Palmer wants out, and who can blame him. Owner Mike Brown, ever the delusional one, has been steadfast in that he will not trade Palmer. But Palmer has expressed that he is open to retirement, which would leave the Bengals with absolutely nothing at the quarterback position. But Brown is also notoriously cheap and he would not want to pay top dollar for two quarterbacks. I think that the Bengals will go a similar route to Buffalo and take a quarterback later in the draft.

5. Arizona Cardinals
I believe that Arizona's interest in Gabbert is a smokescreen to get someone (i,e Washington) to get desperate and trade up for him. Ken Whisenhunt is going into a make or break year and why would he entrust his fate to a rookie quarterback? I think that they will acquire a veteran like Marc Bulger, to give some veteran guidance to the young quarterbacks on the roster, Max Hall and John Skelton, who are both well thought of out in Glendale.

7. San Francisco 49ers
Jim Harbaugh actually tried to recruit Gabbert when he was coaching at Stanford and he might try to get him again. Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback, has to realize that he has nothing to work with in San Francisco right now and I highly doubt he will pull the same old song and dance that others have done by saying "I think I can be the guy to get Alex Smith to be a solid quarterback." In fact, this is where I think Gabbert will end up, in all likelihood.

8. Tennessee Titans
After the failure that was the Vince Young tenure, the Titans have nothing at quarterback besides an aging Kerry Collins. I'd expect them to pounce on Gabbert if he is available, but you can never really guess what Bud Adams will do.

10. Washington Redskins
So much for the Donovan McNabb show in Washington. And Mike Shanahan could not seriously expect Rex Grossman to be the answer. But I don't think Gabbert will fall this far, so we might see the 'Skins trade up if he falls to say the fifth pick. Both Daniel Snyder and Shanahan have shown plenty of aggression on draft day to get the quarterbacks they want (Jason Campbell for Snyder, Jay Cutler for Shanahan) so they won;t be afraid to pull the trigger.

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