Cam Newton went number one as expected. I think it was a wasted pick, but Carolina may sell some more tickets. Hell, from the boos I heard at Newton they may sell more tickets if he fails. I'm sure plenty of college football fans would enjoy seeing him get knocked around in the NFL.
Five out of the top six players selected played in the SEC and a total of ten in the first round. Picks 2 thru 6 were some of the best selections in the draft: 2) Von Miller LB Texas A&M, 3) Marcell Dareus DT Alabama, 4) AJ Green WR Georgia, 5) Patrick Peterson CB LSU, 6) Julio Jones WR Alabama.
The first small shock was when former Mizzou teammate of Blaine Gabbert, Aldon Smith, was picked before Gabbert by San Francisco at seven. But the first real stunner came at pick eight when Jake Locker of Washington was selected by the Tennessee Titans. I think Locker is too inaccurate, but maybe I'm wrong since Gruden really loves him. Gabbert went to the Jaguars at 10 so the suspense of Blaine waiting was over then.
An even more unexpected stunner came at pick 12 with Florida State QB Christian Ponder going to the Vikings. Ponder was good passer for the Seminoles ,but he seems to have the injury bug. The importance of a signal caller in the NFL showed early in the Draft especially since four quarterbacks were selected in the top twelve picks and this was a down year for QB draft talent.
Nick Fairley slipped to pick 13 of Detroit. I'm unsure of Fairley and how his attitude will transition. If he lives up to draft expectations, then he should strive playing next to Suh. We'll see.
Baltimore had an awkward moment with the 26th pick when the draft clock expired and Kansas City ended up picking at 26. The Ravens were stalled by a potential trade, but they did select the 27th pick in time.
I was personally disappointed to see the Pittsburgh Steelers select Cameron Heyward of Ohio State. That's because the Steelers are my favorite NFL team and my favorite college team is Arkansas. Heyward strongly contributed to the victory for Ohio State over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. He's a talented player, but I don't want to root for him. Oh the conflicts of being both a college and NFL football fan.
Another thing, I understand Ingram is emotional about his father, but at least start bringing some tissues Mark.
Andy Dalton and Da Quan Bowers are a couple big names still left on the board. I'll be watching.
Is Blaine Gabbert a legitimate top five NFL Draft Pick? The answer is no. However, he might be picked there due to the need for quarterbacks. Gabbert, the former Missouri Tiger, has the athletic tools and skills to spin the pigskin, but he is more flawed in comparison to last year’s top quarterback selected by the St. Louis Rams in Sam Bradford, former Oklahoma Sooner and Heisman winner.
According to an “informal poll” done by Don Banks of SI.com at Gabbert’s pro day in Columbia, he asked NFL personnel evaluators, "how Gabbert compared at this point in the pre-draft process to recent first-round quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford… consensus was that Gabbert, despite having relatively modest success as a collegiate starter, certainly measured up based on his pro day showing.”
Gabbert’s college statistics is lacking when compared to Bradford. In his top season statistically (2009), he had fewer passing yards at 3,593 and less overall TDs with 27 when compared to Bradford’s best season (2008) in which he had 4,720 passing yards with 55 overall touchdowns. Blaine is a fast agile scrambler which ran a 4.61 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine and has pro size at 6-4 234 lbs., but he lacks the overall skill and on field recognition that Bradford already had coming into the NFL.
Gabbert is excellent at moving around the pocket when the offensive line gradually breaks down, but sometimes he panics from quick blitz pressure or a D-lineman bull rush such as during the Missouri at Nebraska game last season. Even though he is a sharp intermediate passer, he has had problems with his deep ball accuracy. As well as some people may question his transition to a NFL quarterback since he played in a college spread system at Missouri, but he did well under center on his pro day and he played in a system similar to a pro-form in high school.
The main difference between Gabbert and Bradford is that Sam, other than a few rough edges, was immediately game ready to play in the NFL. Blaine may need more time to develop into a franchise quarterback. Todd McShay of ESPN.com has Gabbert third on his draft board going to Buffalo and he said “give him a year to develop and maybe a couple years down the road, you’re looking at the next Aaron Rodgers. He has that kind of skill set.” Mel Kiper of ESPN.com has him at eleven on his Big Board, but on his mock draft he has him being selected as the number one pick by Carolina.
In my opinion, Blaine Gabbert has a chance at being a great NFL talent, but he is farther behind in the development process than the last couple top drafted quarterbacks. With the lack of top notch QBs in this draft compared to recent years, should an NFL team draft Gabbert or any quarterback in the top five? Go to the fan poll page and vote!