2011 NFL Draft: Cam Newton vs. Blaine Gabbert, Who's the Best QB in the Draft?

Mihir BhagatSenior Analyst IIIApril 18, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers throws a pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL Draft features several elite football players, two of whom are quarterbacks in Auburn's Cameron Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

While neither are expected to perform like Matt Ryan or Sam Bradford, both are projected to be drafted early in the first round and potentially as Top-5 picks. As for which is the superior prospect, well, the jury is still out on that one. In fact, it seems as if everyone's got an opinion on the comparison.

Some view Newton as an eventual NFL superstar and Gabbert as a mere game manager. Others think that Gabbert's high football IQ will give him the advantage in the end. Frankly, there is no consensus but each quarterback presents a certain skill set which make them each unique athletes. 

In my opinion, Gabbert reminds me much of a Eli Manning. In that sense I mean that he could be a winner and a franchise quarterback, but he will never put up gaudy numbers and will rarely be the sole reason to a team's success. He will often need to be paired up with a reliable rushing attack or a dominant defense.

While he has the tools to build his talent, I don't get the feeling that he's ready to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL, which doesn't bode well for the teams drafting early that are desperate to jump-start their franchises immediately. 

As for Newton, I believe he could go one of two ways. Either he becomes a superstar like Donovan McNabb or he could flop like Vince Young. He undoubtedly possesses the physical skills demanded by the position and he also has the leadership skills to take reigns of a team which is what makes him a perfect fit for a team lacking a face for their franchise. At the same time, his character issues and maturity are a question and could pose a major problem down the road.

In the matter of who gets drafted first it could simply come down to a team's preferences in correspondence to their system needs. 

For example, I think Newton would be better for ths Bills while Gabbert would be better for a team like the 49ers.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of either, I think it's imminent that these quarterbacks will be taken high simply because the position they play is in such demand in a league that's rapidly becoming more pass-heavy.

All we do know is that up until the moment the Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock, this will be a heavily debated issue.