Nov 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) on the sidelines against the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 43-37. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Blaine Gabbert - A Look Back

I was perusing the interwebs (if one can properly peruse the interwebs) and I stumbled upon a Football Outsiders article from before the 2011 NFL Draft.  The article uses the Lewin Career Forecast metric (mentioned by Tony Khan in this article) to list 2011 quarterback prospects.  The prospects are listed based on the their DYAR (defense-adjusted yards per replacement).  Here are the prospects listed by DYAR:

  • Andy Dalton: 1,616
  • Ricky Stanzi: 1,305
  • Colin Kaepernick: 1,044
  • Blaine Gabbert: 656
  • Jake Locker: 569
  • Ryan Mallet: 471
  • Christian Ponder: 413
  • Cam Newton: 175

I was a big fan of both Stanzi and Dalton (in that order) heading into the 2011 draft but didn’t know that either of them were ranked this high until now.  Surprisingly, none of the top three were drafted in the first round.  Those who follow football know that both Dalton and Kaepernick are emerging as very fine quarterbacks who likely should have been taken instead of Gabbert, Locker, or Ponder in the first round.  Stanzi, taken in the fifth round, is the major outlier here.

But back to Gabbert.

In the 2012 season I very boldly (and quite possibly, stupidly) proclaimed that Gabbert will be an above average quarterback.  My enthusiasm came in his second season and after I was hoping for just about anything positive to come from the Jags.  FO didn’t have the same hope and optimism that I did, when they looked at the 2011 NFL draft prospects:

Here is where maybe you get the sense that this isn’t the best year for low-risk quarterback prospects. From Gabbert on down, every quarterback prospect for 2011 is lower than every quarterback prospect from 2009-2010 except for Mark Sanchez. Gabbert is a little low on games started, a little high in completion rate, and basically average on all the other variables in the system, so LCF v2.0 thinks he’s going to be a very average quarterback. His projection is close to the average projection for all the players in the data set used to create LCF v2.0, which is 604. An average quarterback can be a very useful thing on the right team, but it is not something you want to get with a top ten pick.

So far Gabbert is proving that LCF can be a pretty accurate statistic.  The Jags are giving Gabbert one last chance to fight for his spot to remain an NFL starting quarterback.  It’s his chance to prove that he is more than just an average quarterback.  There are Gabbert apologists, Gabbert optimists, and Gabbert haters, but until he improves his game, he’s just giving more weight to a metric that predicted he wouldn’t be better than he is currently proving to be.

Without improvement he may end up nothing more than a statistic.

- Luke N. Sims

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