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2011 NFL Draft Picks: Blaine Gabbert Means a New Era in Jacksonville

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2011 NFL Draft Picks: Blaine Gabbert Means a New Era in Jacksonville
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David Garrard Is on Notice for the 2011 Season

The Jacksonville Jaguars are serious about making the playoffs in 2011.

The Jaguars traded up six spots to take Blaine Gabbert, the quarterback out of Missouri and considered the second-best quarterback in the draft.

While it is no surprise the Jaguars did not think David Garrard was the future of the franchise, it is a bit of a surprise the Jaguars took a quarterback in the first round.

While mock drafts mean nothing, it is interesting when a team swerves so far from the general consensus, that being the Jaguars were going to take a pass rusher with their first pick.

From Profootballtalk.com:

It’s pretty remarkable that quarterback-hungry teams like Buffalo, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee and Washington all decided to pass on Gabbert.  It lends credence to the notion that Gabbert was a bit of a draftnik creation, a guy who “looked” like a top-five pick but didn’t quite excite teams enough.

He’ll excite the Jaguars fanbase plenty.  Mobile with a strong arm, Gabbert will have a steep learning curve in the NFL coming from a spread offense.  That won’t make Garrard’s leash any longer as the Jaguars starter.

Gabbert is a two-game losing streak away from being the most popular man in town.

The Jaguars have relied on Maurice Jones-Drew and the running game this past season, as Garrard never has been a reliable quarterback.

By drafting Gabbert, the Jaguars are saying they are not content with the status quo at quarterback and Garrard now officially is on notice.

If Garrard can not lead the team to a victory, especially in the fourth quarter, expect to see Gabbert on the field sooner rather than later.

I do not think Gabbert will be the starter right out of the gate, but I do believe Gabbert has a very good chance of becoming the starter before the season ends.

The Jaguars were given a mandate to make the playoffs this year by the owner. To be fair, that stance has softened, but no one on the coaching staff will be relaxing one bit.

With the Gabbert pick, head coach Jack Del Rio is poised to do whatever he has to do to be successful in 2011.

If Garrard can not cut it, Del Rio is saying he has the future of the franchise ready to go.

This assumes Garrard still is on the team when the season starts, but giving Gabbert time to learn the offense behind Garrard would be the smart thing to do.

 

MUST READ: Live NFL Draft Blog Plus Grading the Picks

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