According to Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com in today's "Ask Vic", Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith personally attended the Insight.com Bowl last night on a scouting trip. There were plenty of NFL Draft prospects playing in the game, and two of them were quarterbacks.
Click the jump for some of the players he could be looking at.
Currently the Jaguars hold the 17th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. That could change depending on the outcome on Sunday, but not by much. I do not believe the Jaguars can get higher than 17th with a loss, and if my math/understanding of tiebreakers in regards to draft order is correct, they shouldn't be able to fall lower than 19th with a win. So, who exactly could Gene Smith be scouting at the game?
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Mizzou
Gabbert is an interesting QB prospect. Some people have him as a first rounder in 2011 and some feel he should stay in school for his senior year. From what I watched last night, he made plenty of NFL throws in Missouri's spread offense. He consistently hit the "honey hole" in zone coverages that many refer too. He's got the size, arm, mechanics, and decision making you want. Gabbert ultimately threw a bad interception returned for a touchdown to lose the game, but prior to that mistake he was on fire. It's very possible he could be a first round pick in 2011. From what I've seen of him and last night, I'd have no issue if he was selected by the Jaguars. I was thoroughly impressed.
Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
Stanzi has been an interesting QB prospect to watch grow up this season. He threw 15 interceptions his junior year to cut that number to only 6 in the 2010 season, and pushing his touchdown passes from 17 to 25. In his junior season, Stanzi had a knack for bringing the Hawkeyes back in crunch time and winning the game. In the first pass of the game last night, Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt deep down the field for a huge gain. Stanzi can make all the NFL throws and has great size for the position, but there's concern he's "maxed out" as a player and may be nothing more than a very good NFL back up. Stanzi does have something special about him though, as he always seems to keep his team's in the game/come back and win the game. Rarely does he lose Iowa a football game.
Aldon Smith, DE Mizzou
Some people seem to think Smith could sneak into the draft this year, despite only being a redshirt sophomore. He's a dominant edge rusher and often lines up on the inside of the defense line. He wasn't really wreaking havoc last night, but Iowa's offensive line isn't an easy one to go up against. He was matched up against Iowa's Riley Reiff much of the night, who is considered a first round talent in the wings.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
If Clayborn had left for the draft after he took over the Orange Bowl last season, he probably would have been a Top 10 pick. Clayborn should still be a first rounder, but it's doubtful he'll go in the Top 10 in 2011. He plays right end for the Hawkeyes, but in the NFL he's likely best fit as a 3-4 DE or a left end in a 4-3. He had a down season in 2010 due to sucking wind late in games and constant double teams, but he's still an effective force. He didn't do a lot last night, but he still forced Gabbert to rush some throws and scramble at times.
Tyler Sash, S, Iowa
Tyler Sash followed up a stellar sophomore season with a good junior year. I think it's more likely Sash returns to Iowa in 2011, but many feel he'll be a second or third rounder if he leaves. Sash always has a nose for the football and is in on almost every tackle. He's a smart player who rarely blows coverages.
(I realize there are more than just these players who could enter the draft, but I only included players I think Smith would be looking at.)