Gene Coding: Breaking Down the Quarterbacks (pt. 1)

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Hopefully it turns out better than this.

The Jaguars have made no secret that they intend to acquire a “quarterback of the future” in the 2011 Draft to groom behind David Garrard. There is a wealth of talent at the position this year with a wide range of skill sets – from weak-armed, cerebral types to an “Eminem-wannabe” with no mobility but an arm made of gold. Thanks to Black&Teal contributor Jason Love, we are intimately familiar with the required “Genealogy” of a Gene Smith draftee, so what prospective quarterbacks fit the mold? After the jump we examine the ten quarterbacks with the necessary skills (though some of them very raw) to become a future starter and which of them GM Gene may have a twinkle in his eye for.

First of all, Gene is not going to draft someone who doesn’t at least have the raw tools to become a starter. This would exclude guys like Tyrod Taylor, a strictly “running quarterback” who is mobile, yet undersized and will likely require a position change, or Greg McElroy, who has all of the field-awareness and intangibles, but lacks the arm strength to make all of the NFL throws. We will explore the ten quarterbacks from the 2011 Draft with prototypical size, physical skills, understanding of the position, and intangibles. Will they all make it in the NFL? No, but these are the guys who have the potential and one of them will be wearing teal next year. 


1. Blaine Gabbart, Missouri

  • Scouting Report: At 6’4″ and 235, Gabbart has ideal size with above average athleticism. He has the arm to make all the NFL throws and has shown good mobility and ability to read defenses pre-snap. Sometimes lacks touch on his throws and there have been some that question the velocity on his deep out throws and ability to throw it over the top of a defense. Played in a spread offense in college and occasionally forces the ball into dangerous spots.
  • Experience: Entering draft as a Junior. 2009 and 2010 first-string QB for the Tigers. 25 starts.
  • Character: No arrests or other character concerns. Never named a team captain, but has a reputation for being a vocal leader, hard worker, and avid film studier.
  • Accolades: 2010: Big 12 Honorable Mention; Manning Award Watch Lists; Davey O’Brien Award Semi-Finalist
    2009: 2nd Team All-Big 12 ; Big 12 Honorable Mention; 1st Team Academic All-Big 12; Missouri’s Offensive Back of the Year Award; Spring Team Most Improved Offensive Back Award
  • Jaguars Outlook: Gabbart is an impressive prospect and has a resume that would suggest he’ll be successful as an NFL starter. Without overplaying the character card, because Smith would never avoid a player like Gabbert, GM Gene’s draft picks and his first-rounders especially have been extreme over-achievers. Gabbert will assuredly be off the board by the time the Jaguars’ slotted #16 pick rolls around and he doesn’t have the “GWoww” (yes, I just coined that) Factor that his other draftees have had, so I do not see the Jags in any kind of trade-up scenario to pick him.


2. Cam Newton, Auburn

  • Scouting Report: Pretty much built to play quarterback – has the size (6’5″, 248) and physical attributes of Vince Young, but with a quick and fluid overhand release. Has the arm to make every throw and with impressive velocity. Astounding athleticism that affords extra time to make the throw and makes him a dangerous runner. Poor footwork and experience only in simplified (one read, run if not open), shotgun offense at Auburn will require much work to develop into a pro passer.
  • Experience: Newton enters the draft as a redshirt Junior. Was a backup as a freshman at Florida and after an injury, took a medical red shirt in his sophomore year. Transferred to Junior College and led Blinn College to the NJCAA Championship in 2009. Transferred to Auburn for the 2010 season and led the Tigers to a National Championship.
  • Character: Despite being a fierce and emotional leader on the field, Newton was not a team captain and has a number of red flags off the field. He was arrested for stealing a laptop while at UF and allegedly had been caught cheating there as well. His alleged solicitation of monetary compensation from schools is well documented.  Most recently, comments made by Newton to the media about being “an entertainer and icon” as well as a professional quarterback have concerned teams, with regard to his whole-hearted dedication to being an NFL quarterback.
  • Accolades: 2010: Heisman Trophy, AP Player of the Year, Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award
  • Jaguars Outlook: If only the character concerns weren’t there, Newton would likely be a lock for #1 overall. His potential is mouth-watering, but being far from refined, teams understandably worry if Newton can keep his nose clean and stay committed to his craft enough to develop into what he could be. Like Gabbert, he has no chance of being available when the Jaguars pick. The character concerns surrounding Newton are very real, so despite his athleticism and impressive achievements, he has likely already been removed from Gene’s board.
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Tags: Blaine Gabbert Cam Newton Christian Ponder Gene Smith Jake Locker Ryan Mallett

  • JagWire77

    So 4 out of top 5 qb’s from SEC/ACC schools? Pppl act like these aren’t the best conferences to draft from, but these are where the real pro players come out of. Gene better not draft that scrub out of TCU with this many real quarterbacks available.

  • zoltanfrombudapest

    Great piece Andrew, well done. Yeah among the 5 I like Ponder, and Locker too(I think Gabbert – and Newton- are Top 5 picks so forget about them). I still like Ponder more then Locker, but so far none of them seem like worth to be picked at 16th. But I have no problem drafting them a (little) later.

  • thehof

    No one saw Sanchez being a #5 pick two years ago. Josh Freeman shot into the mid-first after being called a “developmental” guy and is arguably the best of the 2008 draft. Tebow was supposed to be 3rd or later. Only takes one team to fall in love with a guy and Gene Smith gets pretty romantic in that sense.

  • dan073eb

    where’s 6-10? I want Ponder!

  • JesseBartolis

    fansded’s nflmocks has made a full team mock draft for the Jaguars if you would share it with your readers:

    also I’m trying to work with all of the heads at each football site to do things across the sites and help out the network if you could email me at [email protected] so we could work on something together that’d be great.

    and follow us on twitter @NFlmocks and let me know (we’ll follow you back)


  • JesseBartolis

    as far as this post goes, good work.

    Though I don’t know if Locker will “easily be available” as someone who reads pretty much anything and everything draft related (for my own enjoyment and for the site)…

    rumor is Locker is a lock for either the Titans at 8 or the Redskins at 10 if both Gabbert and Newton are off the board by those picks.

  • JesseBartolis

    I like the breakdown though

  • Luke

    I really like Ponder, and out of these top five (very well evaluated, might I add), I think he is the only one worth approaching for the Jaguars. And I’d only do it if he falls to the second round at some point. While some disagree with me, I’d grab at Ponder if he falls to us in the 2nd, but otherwise I’d wait on TCU’s Dalton.
    As expressed above, some people disagree with the decision, but I think it is the smart play in the draft. Dalton is very much a GM Gene guy (though correct me if I’m wrong with a Genecoding report ;)) and he throws the ball very well (within 15 yards at least). His problem is his arm strength. And, while I admit this is a tough thing to overcome, I think he can overcome that through development. The Jaguars, with Sims-Walker potentially being picked up by someone else later this year (if we solve the CBA problems), are mostly designed for the short pass. As much as Dirk Koetter wants to stretch the field, the most success has consistently come from within twenty yards (remember the horrendous 2008 season and our severe lack of throws longer than 20 yards?). David Garrard is probably a very good mentor and can provide guidance to a young man learning how to develop his arm for the deep throws and can provide guidance for the short passes that have become an important part of the Jaguar identity (one that I firmly believe should be in place rather than the more vertical options. Obviously I am biased).
    Keep in mind that Peyton Manning wasn’t considered to have a rocket for an arm and he turned out just fine. Other quarterbacks with less firepower, like Matt Flynn in Green Bay, have shown that they can be successful in leading a team. Dalton is used to leading, and winning, and that’s more important than being able to hit a Randy Moss deep (having watched Culpepper and Moss fail to win for years, despite the deep pass, in Minnesota has me slightly averse to such a plan). I like Dalton’s movement, touch, and demeanor. I think he has the brain and work ethic to develop rapidly (within a year or a year and a half) and could succeed Garrard, and, probably, outshine him. With the needs on Defense still, I think Dalton will fall to the Jaguars as the best player on the board somewhere around the third round, maybe second (doubtful).
    While this is like my fifth time changing which quarterback I would prefer the Jaguars to have in the draft, I’m going to stick with it. I think Jacksonville could really miss out if they let him slip by, or if they trade up for a bigger name. GM Gene knows that development is important, and while we’ve had numerous starters from the past two drafts, I think he knows that giving a quarterback two years or so to develop on the sideline is important. So, rather than looking at the perfect candidate right now, the best candidate two years from now should be considered. I think Dalton is the most coachable, has a good mind for the game, and can develop his arm through work with the training staff.
    Just my two cents. It makes writing my paper on Alexander Hamilton so much easier to be able to talk football. Great article all the same! Brilliant really.