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

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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.