Ron Jaworski, the ex-quarterback turned analyst, has been doing a countdown of the quarterbacks in the NFL. Recently, he placed Blaine Gabbert at number 29 on the list. This came as a surprise to me since most people cite the statistics and his 34th placement in things like yards which tend to best show how incredibly pedestrian the Jaguars offense had been under Gabbert.
But “Jaws” saw some good things coming out of Gabbert. Certainly his footwork needs a little help. His pocket presence could use a kickstart as well. Jaws however notes the arm strength of Gabbert and recognizes him as a player that could translate into a very good passer.
Like most Jaguars fans, I agree with Jaws that Gabbert has the physical tools to become a better passer in the NFL. Can Gabbert get to a point where he is no longer listed in the high twenties?
It is common for Jaguars fans and news outlets to speculate that if Gabbert brings his game up to even average NFL quarterback levels (around 16th in the league for touchdown percentage, passing yards, completion percentage, etc…) then the Jaguars could be very successful because their running attack would benefit and their defense would have more of a fighting chance. I agree with the assessment.
So, can the positives outlined by Jaws translate into a movement up the charts for Gabbert? Can he move from #29 to #16+? I think he can. I lot of people will be hesitant to proclaim that they think Gabbert has the ability to make that leap. Call me biased or call me an optimist but it seems probable that Gabbert will make that jump – if only because the people above him aren’t that good.
We know Gabbert didn’t have a full offseason last year. We know Gabbert wasn’t expected to start in his first season. We know that Gabbert is young and needs time to develop. But that jump up 13 spots isn’t too difficult. There are quarterbacks ahead of Gabbert in passing yards and completion percentage like Colt McCoy, Curtis Painter, Tarvaris Jackson, Christian Ponder, Rex Grossman, and John Skelton. Do we really think that all of those players could beat out Gabbert? I find it hard to believe they’ll do it twice.
The Jaguars have made an investment in Gabbert because of his potential, not his current ability. They know he can jump from #29 to something somewhat higher. The list isn’t as impressive as people think it is. When looking at the clips played by Jaws, all we really need is Gabbert to stand up and we have a much better chance.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims