As it stands right now, former Jacksonville Jaguars first round pick Blaine Gabbert will be competing to be the starting quarterback in 2013. There are some flaws in Gabbert's overall game and he's been in a pretty poor situation his first two years in the NFL, admittedly, but even the situation may not correct his fatal flaws.
By all accounts Gabbert is a smart player, who understands the playbook and defensive coverages, but he has massive issues in the pocket which have prohibited him from being a functional passer. Some of that is his own doing and some of it has been the issues on the offensive line, which has a lot of people buying into the notion of the Jaguars selecting a right tackle with the second overall pick.
Is that going to turn Gabbert into a functional passer, though?
"The way I evaluate quarterbacks is I look at traits and characteristics that are successful in the NFL," Greg Cosell of NFL Films told Sports Final Radio on 1010XL. "That's the way I do it. It doesn't make me right, but when I watch college quarterbacks then I look to see if they have those traits."
So did Cosell see those traits from Gabbert?
In a word, no.
"One thing that really stood out when I watched him (Blaine Gabbert) at Missouri, even though the sample size was small because of all the shotgun one-step drop stuff, was the small sample of throws in which there were bodies around him, he was very poor," Cosell told SFR on Gabbert. "That has translated to the NFL. You guys watch every game I'm sure as I do, and when the bodies are around him and the pocket starts collapsing and he's in the cauldron of fire... he can't play."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement from a man who many consider one of the best in the business in film study. Cosell isn't the end all be all authority on quarterbacks, but his comment is pretty damning and if you go back and watch the film, it's pretty true. Gabbert still has issues with pressure in the pocket, especially feeling phantom pressure because his internal clock is so sped up.
"I'm not trying to be personal, that's just what the film shows," Cosell continued. "He falls away, he's not very good, and you can't be a quality NFL quarterback if you do that, particularly when you're a pocket passer."
Cosell was asked if these issues are so obvious on film to him that it must be obvious to general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley, to which Cosell simply answered, "Yes."
The Jaguars front office and coaching staff have been clear that it's an open competition at the quarterback spot going forward, even opening it up to anyone else they add to the roster be it via the NFL Draft, free agency, or an unlikely trade.
"They study this, I like to think I do a pretty thorough job, but I'm not a coach. These guys do this with just their team 15-20 hours a day, I'm not doing that," Cosell continued. "They know him better than I do. I'm just watching film. I don't know the kid, I think I met him once but I don't know the kid so I couldn't speak to any of that, so I'm just telling you what I see on film."