Although there are questions about his college offense and development as a quarterback in that offense, he has prototypical size and strength to go along with outstanding athleticism. He is one of the best pocket passers of the class and has all of the physical tools to get the job done at the NFL level. He possesses the athleticism to keep the defense honest and the arm to tear apart a secondary when he is on his game. A strong defense that can keep constant pressure will be his biggest enemy in the NFL, but with proper coaching and a talented offensive line, Gabbert shouldn’t have too much trouble overcoming this downfall in his game. With a strong, somewhat accurate arm and the legs to pick up first downs, there’s no reason to believe that Gabbert can’t turn into one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. I can’t see him falling past the Tennessee Titans at the eighth overall pick.
At Missouri, he played in a spread offense where he took most of his snaps from the shotgun and was never really forced to make NFL-level reads, either before or during a play. When he starts to feel pressure, instead of stepping up into the pocket and making a throw, he relies too heavily on his scrambling ability and gets himself out of the pocket by rolling out instead. When on the run, he does a good job of throwing the ball away if nothing is available down the field or on the ground.
It definitely isn’t the best in the class, but Gabbert’s arm strength is definitely strong enough for an NFL quarterback. He possesses the zip to squeeze passes into tight windows and has great placement when throwing short slants. To go along with his arm strength, he also has good touch on his throws, although his passes have a tendency to sail when throwing deep. All too often, he puts more strength than needed into throws that causes several of his passes to either sail or miss his target high.
Although his accuracy can’t be considered poor, it definitely is inconsistent. He spent his entire junior year going through hot and cold streaks with accuracy. When he gets into the flow of the game and makes some good throws early, he can tear apart a defense. Because of the spread offense he played in, he had plenty of time to perfect his accuracy on short timing routes, either inside or out. When throwing crossing routes, he places the ball perfectly and does an outstanding job of giving his receivers a chance to make a play after the catch. On out routes, he either puts them right on target or throws them over the heads of his receivers. He has the arm strength and accuracy to make good throws down the field, but has a tendency to come up short when trying to put touch on deep routes. Overall, his accuracy is solid as long as there isn’t too much pressure on the pocket. He struggles to throw accurate passes when the defense turns up the heat. The offense that he played in inflated his accuracy over the course of his career.
The mechanics that he uses to throw the ball are almost prototypical. When in the pocket, he stands tall. He holds the ball near his shoulder and gets the ball out of his hands quickly and effectively. Under pressure, he doesn’t do a good job of stepping into pocket to avoid pressure and too often takes off instead of standing his ground and making a throw. When he feels a hit coming, he rushes his throws and doesn’t set his feet to make confident deliveries. He also struggles to set his feet and make proper deliveries when he is on the move. If he can make more confident throws when under pressure and work on his pocket presence, his footwork won’t be too much of an issue in the NFL.
Gabbert possesses outstanding scrambling ability that almost has a tendency to sneak up on defenses. When he’s under pressure, he has the ability to roll out and extend plays using his feet. Although he doesn’t have a scrambling tendency, he is more than capable of picking up first downs and big chunks of yardage with his feet. When trying to pick up yards, he does a good job of falling forward and tacking on extra yards at the end of a run. However, he will need to learn how to slide in the NFL if he doesn’t want to get hurt. Despite speed and vision, he doesn’t possess outstanding elusiveness. He does a solid job of throwing while on the run. He doesn’t always make an effort to set his feet while running and throwing and often jumps to throw the ball when on the move. Overall, he is a tremendous athlete who just needs to learn to refine his way of mixing athleticism with quarterbacking.
He possesses a compact delivery and quick release. When throwing, there isn’t any wasted motion, which is helped by the fact that he holds the ball at shoulder level instead of lower. He does double-clutch and wind up this throws from time to time, but even then, the ball still leaves his hands quickly and efficiently. When the pressure is on, he sometimes has a tendency to short arm the ball in order to get it out quicker. Overall, there aren’t too many concerns with his release that could warrant a draft in his stock.
Gabbert had some shoulder injury issues in high school, but never missed a game during his time at Missouri despite a nagging ankle injury during 2009. He did opt out of throwing at the NFL Combine, which raised some concerns as to the health of his arm. Both on the field and off, Gabbert is a great leader who works hard and is a regular in the film room. Although he was never named a team captain, he acted like one during games and did an impressive job of commanding his huddle the way an NFL quarterback should. His drop-off in production from 2009 to 2010 is a bit of a concern, showing inconsistency.
2010: Started in 13 of 13 games.
2009: Started in 13 of 13 games.
2008: Played in 4 of 13 games.
Gabbert majored in Business at Missouri; 2009 1st Team Academic All-Big 12.
Awards & Honors
2010: Big 12 Honorable Mention; Manning Award Watch Lists; Davey O’Brien Award Semi-Finalist
2009: 2nd Team All-Big 12 (Kansas City Star, Phil Steele); Big 12 Honorable Mention (Associated Press); 1st Team Academic All-Big 12; Missouri’s Offensive Back of the Year Award; Spring Team Most Improved Offensive Back Award
Prospect Video Clips
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