This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Keep up to date on our Baker's Dozen series here.
We're about 59 hours away from the start of the 2011 NFL Draft, and all signs continue to point to Cam Newton being the first overall pick. Why, though, wouldn't a high-upside, high-character guy like Blaine Gabbert warrant more than cursory consideration for that pick? That's exactly what I asked Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft.
"The simple answer is that character and intangibles don't win as many games as throwing ability and natural ability," Kadar said. "Gabbert is superior in the former, Newton is superior in the latter. If character and intangibles were were the top consideration, the Cincinnati Bengals would have gone out of business long ago."
Unless a team trades up with Denver to get the No. 2 overall pick and snag Gabbert in front of Buffalo, there's a strong chance that Gabbert will be there when the Bills pick third. Yet there have not been strong indications that the Bills are interested in Gabbert. I asked Kadar whether that might be a schematic consideration; he didn't think so.
"He's the kind of quarterback that can be plugged into any system," Kadar said. "In high school, he ran a strict pro-style offense. As everyone knows, he ran the wide-open spread at Missouri – which is a huge difference from the spread option, by the way. In the pros, his best system might actually be in a West Coast offense. So unless the Pistol or option offenses invade the NFL to a greater degree, I don't see a scheme giving Gabbert any trouble. What I do see giving him trouble is pressure. Gabbert likes to get out of the pocket when there's pressure in his face. If he's drafted to a team with an bad or even average line, it will have seriously bad implications on his development."
So what, then? Would No. 3 be too early for Gabbert? Again, Kadar said he didn't think so.
"There really isn't a pick that would 'too early' for Gabbert," Kadar opined. "Carolina is expected to take a quarterback, and Gabbert might be a better choice than Cam Newton. So it wouldn't be a reach at all to see Buffalo go with Gabbert. I don't expect it, but wouldn't be surprised. I would be surprised if Gabbert falls out of the Top 10."
I guess if the Bills do pass on Gabbert, it'll simply be because they don't like him enough as a franchise-type guy.