A lot of attention is placed on the pass rush for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. Yet, almost lost amid all of this pass rushing talk, Blaine Gabbert slips from conversation to conversation. Most recently he is being compared to the quarterback prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft and 2013 Free Agency. And it isn’t a good comparison.
Gabbert is being compared to Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson, and Matt Barkley as someone similar. Not someone with two years of NFL starting experience who should be head and shoulders above these college prospects. Sure, Gabbert is about the same age as most of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, but he has had the ability to play the game at NFL speed for a couple of years. He has been measured and he has been found wanting.
Gabbert’s failures may have come at the right time, though. There hasn’t been an offseason this shallow at quarterback in a while. The prospects have forced the Philadelphia Eagles to re-sign Michael Vick to a potential $10 million, one year deal. For the Jaguars, it’s even more tough.
The Jags are caught between a rock and a hard place. They can stick it out with Gabbert and see if he makes some leaps in 2013 or they can take their pick of similar-talent rookies or free agents. The Jags are by no means starved at quarterback, there were some good moments from Gabbert in 2012, but they could certainly use an upgrade. Right now, Gabbert is fortunate that the team will likely not find a better alternative this offseason.
As it all develops, it will be curious to see just how tight the competition will be between Gabbert and whomever the front office brings in. Somehow, I feel that Gabbert will rise to the top.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims