2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Blaine Gabbert, Mizzou

NFL Mocks is  rolling out our new scouting report template that brings you even more in-depth analysis.  We break down several key traits and grade them on a scale from 5-1.  The breakdown is that 5 being the best and 1 being the worst.  We then will give the prospect an overall grade that is also based on the 5-1 scaling system.  At the end of each of the reports we give an overall assessment as well as a definition of our grade.  This reports are rather lengthy but it really gives you a good feel for each player.  If your looking for a quick breakdown check out the top graphic which gives our strengths and weaknesses for the specific player.  So please continue reading to see our full scouting report!

Athletic Ability: Gabbert possesses good athletic ability for the quarterback position.  He has the ability to create and escape with his feet.  Gabbert remains balanced throughout his throwing motion which allows him to get good zip on the ball.  His balance also makes it difficult for defenders to take him down with arm tackles.  Gabbert possesses good coordination that results in the ability to set and reset his feet and body prior to making a throw.

Measurables: At 6-5 235lbs Gabbert has above average size and bulk for a quarterback.  His weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t hinder his speed or athletic ability.  As we approach the scouting combine there will be plenty of speculation regarding Gabbert’s 40 time.  However, his overall speed doesn’t significantly impact his draft stock.

Football IQ: Gabbert shows the ability to quickly process information.  During his career at Missouri, Gabbertt showed that he had a firm grasp of the offense.  He demonstrated the ability to properly read a defense prior to the snap.  He also was able to identify potential blitzers and hit his “hot” receiver.  A lot will be made about the offensive system Gabbert played in while at Missouri.  The spread attack has typically been a negative for NFL evaluators as it doesn’t project to the NFL.  Gabbert has demonstrated some effects of the spread in that he struggles to go across the field with his progressions.  However, this is not immediately noticeable because the majority of his reads come from 3 receivers to one side of the field.  He can make the right read when looking to one side but when asked to go across the field he gets happy feet.

Competitiveness: Gabbert is a tough kid that gives 100% effort on each play.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to win a football game.  I see a lot of toughness in his game and this is demonstrated by his willingness to run with the football.  However, Gabbert’s toughness could come back to haunt him as he could face injuries.  Learning to slide and avoid the big hit is something that NFL coaches will need to address with Gabbert.

Technique: Gabbertt stands tall in the pocket and avoids wasted motions.  He has a compact drop back and holds the ball above his breast plate.  One of Gabbert’s best attributes is his ability to get the football out of his hands quickly.  His quick release will be something NFL teams focus on as they evaluate Gabbert.  I noticed that Gabbert has a tendency to not step in to his throws and fall off his back foot.  While this is a concern it is not a major one because of his arm strength.  The biggest question mark is going to surround Gabbert’s ability to take a snap from under center.  In the 6 games I watched Gabbert only took about 3 snaps from under center and they were all in goal line situations.  Gabbert’s athletic ability should help in his transition to a more traditional offense but it is still a concern.

Arm Strength: Gabbert possesses an above average arm and could make all the necessary NFL throws.  He delivers the ball on a line and with zip in the intermediate passing game.  Gabbert can get the ball out to his streaking receivers on deep passing routes.


Accuracy (short, intermediate, Long, on the move): Gabbert is tremendously accurate in the short passing game.  He throws his receivers open allowing them to gain extra yardage after the catch.  In the intermediate passing game, Gabbert gets the ball quickly to his receivers and typically away from the defenders.  On routes such as the skinny post he gets the ball out in front allowing his target to pick up extra yardage.  I have a real concern with Gabbert’s ability to deliver an accurate deep ball. In the six games that I viewed he only connected on 1 deep/bucket pass.  The ball was typically overthrown with little touch.  In the NFL he is going to be asked to push the ball down the field and his inaccuracies in college should be question mark.  Gabbert is very accurate when on the move and has good technique typically resetting his feet and body towards his target.

Pocket Presence/Under Pressure: Gabbert possesses the athletic ability to properly evade the rush but he lacks good pocket presence.  When faced with pressure Gabbert pulls the ball down and stares at the rush.  He normally isn’t looking to run but to find a safe zone in the pocket.  The fact that Gabbert doesn’t keep his eyes downfield while attempting to avoid the sack leads to limited success on plays with pressure.  It also leads to several ill-advised throws because he isn’t aware of the positioning of defenders.

Reading Defenses: I touched on Gabbert’s ability to read defenses under the Football IQ section but I will expand on those thoughts.  I feel that Gabbert has the ability to properly read a defense but will take time to fully master the craft.  His college spread scheme stunted his growth in this area because the mismatches often did the work from him.  However, I did notice that he was able to key off defenders and generally delivered the ball to the proper target.  Another tell that he can read defenses is his throw anticipation.  He has a good feel for when to get the ball out which allows him to squeeze the ball into tight spaces.

Overall: Gabbert is a good quarterback prospect that projects as a likely 1st round selection.  He has a ton of physical talent but question marks are also present.  I have a real concern about his pocket presence and ability to deliver an accurate deep pass.  Also, the impact of the spread offense will likely result in a longer developmental time period.  With that being said, I would feel comfortable selecting Gabbert in the 1st round but knowing he will need time to properly develop.  The top 10 might be a reach for a quarterback that is anything but a finished product.

Grade: 4.5-A 1st round talent with legitimate question marks.  He will need time to develop but there is potential for stardom.

Games viewed: Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Nevada ’09, Colorado ’09

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