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Accuracy: Gabbert possesses good accuracy with a 63.4 percent completion percentage as a junior. It’s not quite the 70 percent number typically seen from many quarterbacks in similar systems, but Gabbert’s accuracy from the pocket is a plus. It’s especially good on deep throws where he has to place the ball in tight locations. Showed improved deep ball accuracy in 2010. Can place the ball right over the receiver’s shoulder in stride.
Arm strength: Has an exceptionally strong arm that helps him complete passes to all areas of the field. Throws a quick, tight spiral on shorter routes but doesn’t try and laser the ball through his receiver.
Athleticism/mobility: Gabbert has shown plenty that he’s more mobile than his size may indicate. Obviously he’s not Jake Locker, but that’s not a bad thing. Gabbert has the maneuverability to not only get around in the pocket, but pull the ball and run. Sometimes, though, he is too quick to bail on a play and try to make something happen with his feet. Also runs into trouble trying to throw after he commits to running.
Decision making: Coming out a spread system, Gabbert doesn’t have to make a lot complicated decisions with the football. Particularly, he doesn’t make his own check downs at the line of scrimmage. While you don’t expect a college junior to be Peyton Manning pre-snap, you have to wonder how well Gabbert will be able to go through his reads. Will he be able to tell when a safety is faking or blitz only to drop back or if a lineman is working in zone blitz coverage underneath?
Field vision: Is typically asked to go through only one read in the Missouri system. Will need a lot of training camp and practice repetitions to improve this flaw. However, when that one read is open, he can hit it. Has carved defenses up with pro-style nine routes and crosses. Will need to do much better trusting his check downs instead of looking for the deep ball. Gabbert’s draft placement may hinge somewhat on how he interviews and breaks down plays for coaches on the dry erase board.
Mechanics: Gabbert’s release is just as quick as any quarterback in this year’s draft class and perhaps his best asset. It’s a compact, fluid motion that doesn’t windup. Will likely need to refine his drop back since he’s taken a majority of his snaps from the shotgun. Got better with his footwork as a junior, but needs more consistently plant his feet when he throws.
Pocket awareness: This is where Gabbert will need to improve. He doesn’t have the best poise when he feels the rush around him and will start moving his feet around him. Needs to trust his linemen more and sit back in the pocket. At the same time, there were occasions in games this year where Gabbert held the ball too long and got sacked. The bottom line here is that he has to improve mental clock of when exactly he needs to release the ball. With his quick throwing motion, Gabbert could be a star if he rectifies this area of his game. Played in a system with a long line using deep splits.
Final word: As a pocket passer, Gabbert is loaded with potential. The first noticeable thing about Gabbert is his size. He maybe a legit 6-foot-5 and has and NFL frame at 235 pounds. His arm strength is at a top level, he gets great ball placement and his throwing motion is crisp and sound. Some of the bigger concerns about Gabbert – coming from a spread where he doesn’t have to make many reads – are disconcerting but coachable. Because of that, Gabbert may be the kind of quarterback who is taken in round one but could be better served with a year as a backup.
Finished his career with 6,822 passing yards and 40 touchdowns. Won 18 games over his final two seasons. Was a backup as a freshman behind Chase Daniel. As a junior, ran for 232 yards and five touchdowns.