Analyzing and breaking down the play of Blaine Gabbert is all the rage right now. All the cool kids are doing it.
In recent years sports blogging has taken off and the average NFL fan has transformed into an analyzing machine. Everyone has an opinion about every player and is quick to go to the computer to voice it. The easiest position to formulate an opinion about is the quarterback position and this has led to a tremendous amount of Gabbert analysis.
Everyone has created an idea in their head about the type of quarterback that Gabbert is and will be in the future, and is quick to look for any shred of game-day evidence to back their point and allow them to say "I told you so."
The culture of instant criticism has led me to wonder what the reactions would have been to the rookie seasons of some of the NFL's other quarterbacks had there been the same opportunity to hyper-analyze as there is today.With quarterbacks like Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell and many more examples, there's always the chance that unsuccessful rookie years are just the first of many poor years to come for draft flops. There are also plenty of examples of quarterbacks who struggled their rookie season only to turn their careers around and rise to the elite tier of the NFL quarterbacks.
Here's a list of quarterbacks that struggled their rookie season and developed into good NFL quarterbacks (five of whom are now Hall of Famers).
I'll reiterate what I've said over and over this season. Blaine Gabbert has struggled this years, but this isn't an unprecedented phenomenon. He joins a long list of quarterbacks that have had poor rookie seasons. In fact, his season looks a lot better than many players who went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Does that mean Gabbert is on a path to the Hall of Fame? No, far from it. However, it's impossible to rule out the possibility that he could become the franchise quarterback the Jaguars intend for him to be. Imagine if the Steelers had given up on Terry Bradshaw after his truly terrible rookie season. Imagine if Twitter and sports blogs existed for Steelers fans to talk about how much they want the Steelers to draft another quarterback.