JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 05: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during warm ups prior to playing the San Diego Chargers at EverBank Field on December 5, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Earlier today the question was posed by Alfie whether or not the Jaguars should consider taking a quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft in response to Blaine Gabbert's struggles through his first 10 games as a starter. While he didn't necessarily take stance in either direction, I will. The Jaguars should not consider taking another quarterback in this April's draft.
I'll preface by saying that Gabbert has struggled so far this season and anyone arguing otherwise is clearly not watching objectively. However, anyone who thinks he's not seeing anything redeeming about him thus far, is also not watching objectively.
With his 49.5% completion percentage, Gabbert joins a long list of quarterbacks that have struggled in their rookie seasons. Many of these quarterbacks struggled to turn their careers around after the slow starts, but on that list are names such as Joe Namath, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw and Dan Fouts. The most recent example of a quarterback rebounding from a rough debut year in the league was Eli Manning who went on to win a Super Bowl MVP award.
To expect Gabbert to become one of those players would probably be unfair, but it's too early to rule out the possibility. But if ever there was a quarterback to have a reason to struggle in his first year, Gabbert certainly has them all. In all honesty, it's hard to imagine a scenario that would be tougher for a 22 year old to walk into.
Gabbert was unable to work with coaches throughout the offseason as a lockout prevented him from entering team facilities, working out with team equipment or learn with team coaches. When he finally did get a chance he worked with a quarterbacks coach who, according to CBS's Pete Prisco citing opinions within the Jaguars building, was poorly coaching Gabbert. That coach has since been demoted to wide receivers coach.
Also stunting his growth early has been receivers that struggle to find separation and an offensive line that has struggled to provide adequate protection as of late. Regardless, the obvious fact is that Gabbert is struggling right now, but if there are Hall of Fame level quarterbacks that have had similar struggles without half the reasons Gabbert has had, why give up on the player after just one year?
One of the arguments floating around for drafting a QB early next year, is why not? Why not bring in a quarterback like Robert Griffin III or Matt Barkley to come in and compete with Gabbert and see which one is better? The reason why not has nothing to do with money. It has to do with the usage of a first round pick.
The last place Jaguars offense is as incompetent as they come and, with the exception of Maurice Jones-Drew and maybe Eugene Monroe, could realistically use an upgrade at every position. The use of a first round pick should not be used to address a position that was taken in the 2011 draft because it simply will not help.
When Gabbert was taken at 10th overall he was annointed the future face of the franchise, but he has yet to be given a realistic opportunity to fill the role. As long as Gene Smith is still general manager of the team, I'm confident he'll be given that chance.