The Jacksonville Jaguars have had plenty of failed first round picks in their franchise history, but none was quite as damaging or inept as Blaine Gabbert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the youngest franchises in the NFL, but they have already compiled an impressive list of players who disappointed after being a high draft pick. The Jaguars actually had a pretty nice run of finding impactful players early in the draft (guys like Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor, Kevin Hardy, Marcus Stroud, John Henderson), but blue chip players have been few and far between since the turn of the century.
Every year before the draft, the customary “draft busts” article comes out and for the Jaguars it usually garners some legitimate discussion. Some busts have been spectacular flame outs while others have been a slow burn. One guy who seemingly fit both descriptions was Blaine Gabbert.
For me the discussion ends there – Gabbert is easily the biggest draft disaster in team history. Mike DiRocco of ESPN agrees:
QB Blaine Gabbert | No. 10 overall, 2011
The Jaguars gave up two draft picks to Washington to move up six spots to take Gabbert. The team cut supposed starter David Garrard five days before the 2011 season began, thrusting Gabbert into the role. He didn’t exactly flourish. Gabbert went 5-22 as a starter and threw 22 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions in 28 career games. He threw for more than one touchdown in a game only four times. He missed games because of injuries to his shoulder, forearm, thumb and hamstring and a cut on his hand. He lost his job for good midway through the 2013 season, and the team traded him to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick. — Michael DiRocco
Gabbert was (and is) arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL to start as many games as he did. While it’s not like the Jaguars were the only people fooled by Gabbert the college prospect (almost every draft analyst thought he was either the first or second best passer in the draft along with Cam Newton), the Jaguars doubled down by trading up to take the middling college player.
Gabbert set the bar extremely low for the next signal caller, something Blake Bortles hasn’t completely taken advantage of. Still, Bortles has been much better than Gabbert and it’s a miracle he’s still in the league.