CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts to a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Carolina Panthers had a decision to make with the first overall pick back in April. Obviously, the Panthers chose to select quarterback Cam Newton, but current Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert was certainly in the conversation. "I think the two quarterbacks are similar in terms of arm ability," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said on a conference call on Wednesday. "I do think they're both similar in their athleticism although I do know Blaine is a really good athlete, and there may be some things that we might anticipate a little bit more from him as far as their game plan is concerned," continued Rivera.
The Carolina Panthers know quite a bit about Gabbert. He was in consideration for their first overall pick and was the only other quarterback outside of Newton that the team did extensive research on prior to the NFL Draft.
"Blaine was one of the two quarterbacks we did an extensive amount of research on so we know the young man has a terrific amount of athletic ability," Rivera said of his impression of the Jaguars rookie quarterback. "He's got a good arm, he's a good decision maker, and he can deliver the ball with some velocity. He's very accurate. He's an athletic guy who can run and get outside the pocket and make things happen with his legs." Rivera continued on Gabbert saying, "I think that's his strength is off the play action, or it's going to be. I know most of his career or basically his entire career at Missouri he spent in the gun and so developing the ability to come out from under center, he's been working on it and looks pretty smooth with that."
The Panthers obviously know what to expect from Gabbert, as far as terms of ability. It's going to be interesting to watch the two rookies go head-to-head, as they're quite a lot more similar talent wise than most people realize. Newton's seen as a fantastic athlete with a huge arm, but really Blaine Gabbert is very similar to that. He's athletic ability, especially for his size, is really and underrated aspect of his game.
"We went through an awful lot of research on the young man and we spoke to a lot of people about both guys and I'm telling you, they've got a real good quarterback too," Rivera told the media when asked about deciding between the two.