How Were the Jacksonville Jaguars so Wrong About Blaine Gabbert?
Blaine Gabbert is clearly not a franchise quarterback.
So what in the name of all that's good and pure were the Jacksonville Jaguars thinking when they traded up six spots to land him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft?
This guy has proven to be one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL since he first lined up behind center. He had another bad game on Thursday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts, completing 18-of-31 passes for 209 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception.
Gabbert has one of the weakest repertoires of any quarterback in the league, and as a result, the Jaguars don't make any plays down the field. One of the best ways to gauge effective quarterback play in the NFL is with the yards-per-attempt stat, as it tells you how much a quarterback can stretch the field.
Last season, Gabbert was held to a pitiful 5.36 yards per attempt, 34th in the NFL. Curtis Painter of the Indianapolis Colts was almost a full yard better, and he was the league's 31st-ranked quarterback.
Gabbert was also held to just 12 touchdowns on the year in 15 games and a miserable 50.8 percent completion rate.
This season, Gabbert and the Jaguars are being guided by a different teacher, as Bob Bratowski was hired to right the ship. Furthermore, the team traded up two spots to draft Justin Blackmon with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft and signed Laurent Robinson away from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency.
All of this was done in order to give Gabbert the tools he needed to be successful. It was no secret that Gabbert was given no tools to work with in his rookie season, so the team did what it could to remedy the situation.
And what's been the result?
More of the same.
Fans who are loyal to Gabbert will point out that his numbers have improved, and they have.
But the sad truth is that the Jaguars still aren't making many plays downfield, and this offense still operates to Gabbert's strengths, meaning the passing game is almost exclusively comprised of comeback routes, quick outs and short crossing patterns.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tweeted this while watching the game on Thursday Night Football:
How many comeback-routes does Gabbert throw to per game? I feel like we need to chart this. Has to lead the league.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 9, 2012
Gabbert is once again the worst quarterback in the NFL in terms of yards per attempt, with 5.93. He is also the No. 27-ranked quarterback in the NFL in terms of accuracy, completing just 58 percent of his passes.
What we have here is an inaccurate passer who doesn't have enough touch on his deep passes to keep teams honest. This is a surefire recipe for failure in the NFL, as defenses have an easy time defending an offense with such limited capabilities.
Will the Jaguars pick another QB in the first round in 2013?
The Jaguars were thinking they needed a franchise quarterback when they moved up six spots to land Gabbert last year. Unfortunately, this was a case of a team that valued their need more than the talent of the player they drafted.
Gabbert wasn't ready to lead an NFL offense in 2011, and he won't be ready to lead one in 2013. Simply put, the Jaguars struck out on this draft pick, and it's time to move on and take another hack at it next season.
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