Missouri Loses Insight Bowl: Did Blaine Gabbert Play His Last Game as a Tiger?
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By now, I'm sure you've all seen that Iowa pulled off an improbable upset by beating Missouri 27-24 in the Insight Bowl yesterday in Tempe.
What all of you might not know is that we may have seen the last collegiate game of Mizzou's quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert had a heavy workload in Arizona and played to a decent level but also made a few mistakes. He finished 41-for-57 with over 450 yards and a touchdown with a couple of interceptions.
In two seasons as starter, Gabbert has thrown for more than 6,300 yards, completed 60 percent of his passes and won 18 games compared to just seven defeats.
ESPN experts have him second on the draft boards under the quarterback position, trailing only Stanford's Andrew Luck and 20th overall.
Think of all the storied quarterbacks who are projected to go after Gabbert: Ryan Mallett, the gun slinging Arkansas product; Cameron Newton, this year's Heisman Trophy recipient; Jake Locker, who just a year ago seemed like the consensus number one among the pack; Kellen Moore, a Boise State product who won 38 games as a starter in only three seasons; and Case Keenum, the record-breaking Houston quarterback whose stock has recently slid due to injury.
Scouts like Gabbert's size, and at 6'5" and 240 pounds, who wouldn't? The kid has athleticism that sometimes doesn't flourish in the college game (see: Tom Brady and Brett Favre) but translates well into the professional level.
Will Blaine Gabbert declare for the 2011 NFL Draft?
On the downside, sometimes he seems to fear failure and loses control of some situations. This was apparent last night when he carelessly threw a pass into the hands of Iowa's Micah Hyde, which gave Iowa the final points in the three-point loss.
The only catch is that Gabbert is just a junior. He has already submitted his paperwork to the NFL Advisory Committee to see what possible destinations are in store for him. If he is projected mid-first round or higher, don't be surprised to never see him dress in Mizzou black and gold again.
If he does not choose that route then he will most likely return to the University of Missouri for his senior season.
I could see a few possible suitors make a bid for Gabbert:
Oakland Raiders (projected with the 16th pick in the second round or 48th overall):
While this may be too early for a bid of Gabbert, the Oakland Raiders found consistency in 2010 with neither Jason Campbell nor Bruce Gradkowski. Al Davis' team could possibly trade with a team that has a later pick in order to avoid selecting Mizzou's leader too early.
Cincinnati Bengals (projected with the third pick in the second round or 35th overall):
Carson Palmer's days as a starter in the NFL may be coming to a close, and if the team somehow doesn't select a quarterback in the first round, you might see Gabbert soon sporting the stripes.
Tennessee Titans (projected with the 13th pick in the second round or 45th overall):
This may be too late for Gabbert's liking, and with the struggles on and off the field of Vince Young and aging of Kerry Collins, you will see a change at the helm next year, and Gabbert fits in well with the team's hurry offense.
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