The Carolina Panthers decided against Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but their fellow expansion team the Jacksonville Jaguars have decided to trade up to pick their quarterback of the future, even as David Garrard remains the likely quarterback of the present.
Gabbert, who fell behind teammate Aldon Smith following a surprise first-round slide, is a prototypically sized and talented NFL quarterback, but Missouri’s hyper-fast spread offense left a few NFL teams concerned with his immediate pro-style prospects. Garrard’s solid performance in 2010 makes this a perfect situation for Gabbert, who can work for a while in Garrard’s shadow.
It’s quite a difference from the situation he would have faced as the Carolina Panthers’ first overall pick, if they hadn’t gone with Cam Newton. Gabbert is the third quarterback selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, and it might turn out that he’s the third quarterback to start full time in the NFL.