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Tag:Blaine Gabbert
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Undeniably talented but Gabbert a true projection

There is no doubt that Missouri junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert has first round tools.

He demonstrated his live arm, mobility and accuracy to all levels of the field in last night's loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl.

The 6-5, 235 pound Gabbert threw for 434 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He also rushed the ball on several occasions, including for a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

He also threw two troubling interceptions, however, and accumulated his eye-popping yardage total by attempting 57 passes.

Gabbert's first interception came in the endzone with 28 seconds remaining in the half. In Gabbert's defense, he made the correct read, fired a reasonably accurate post to wideout Jerrell Jackson (failed to lead him) that Iowa cornerback Shawn Prater was able to disrupt as the ball came in. The tipped ball was then intercepted by closing linebacker Brett Greenwood.

His second interception was simply a terrible decision late in the 4th quarter. Gabbert, rolling to his left, attempted a late soft pass to wideout Wes Kemp, who was attempting to block Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde. Hyde was facing Gabbert and in front of Kemp when the ball was released, making it an easy interception that Hyde was able to return 72 yards for the go-ahead (and as it turned out winning) points with 5:40 remaining in the game.

Performances like last night's are why scouts have to be cautious when projecting spread quarterbacks to the NFL. Gabbert's physical tools are impressive. He may very well have the skill set to be successful in the pros. However, in this offense in which he takes essentially every pass out of the shotgun, he's allowed to scan the field and make relatively simply throws most of the time. The vast majority of Gabbert's yardage last night came on timing routes 8-15 yards downfield. If asked to drop back from center, Gabbert will have less time to scan the field before he has to throw the ball and he'll have more complicated routes (and defenses against them) to read.

In other words, he'll be asked to make tougher decisions in less time.

Considering the value of the quarterback position, it is admittedly a projection that a team in the first round of the 2011 draft would certainly make should Gabbert leave early. 

For the very best in draft coverage, NFLDraftScout.com is the place to be.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 3:23 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Final games for juniors Gabbert, Smith, Sands?

With all due respect to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Troy beat Ohio) and the Advo Care V100 Independence Bowl (Air Force beat Georgia Tech), tonight begins the real bowl season -- at least when it comes to scouting future NFL prospects.

My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter did a fine job of pointing out which prospects you should be watching in tonight's games . I wanted to make special mention of the underclassmen who might be playing in their final collegiate games tonight, however.

In the "early" game pitting North Carolina State against West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, the "battle" between Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson and Mountaineer free safety Robert Sands should be intriguing. Russell, 5-11 and 202 pounds, lacks the size scouts are looking for, but is a savvy and surprisingly accurate passer. Sands has spectacular size (6-4, 221), is a hard-hitter whose athleticism pops off the tape. He's allowed to freelance a great deal in WVU's 3-3-5 scheme, which could result in big plays one way or the other in this game. I listed this "one on one" matchup as one of the five I'm most looking forward to scouting in the entire bowl season.

Though statistics say that he won't be a huge component of the Wolfpack's offense, junior tight end George Bryan is another underclassman to key in on in this contest. The 6-5, 265 pounder has "only" caught 32 passes for 344 yards and three scores on the year, but NFL scouts are already paying very close attention to him due to the fact that he's considering leaving early for the NFL. It isn't just because his size and ability to compete as a receiver and blocker intrigue scouts, Bryan recognizes that in this year's weak senior class of tight ends, his stock may never be higher than it is right now.

The more intriguing young talent won't be on the field until the second game tonight, however. Considering the talent Iowa boasts among its seniors -- including first round cinch Adrian Clayborn (as well as Senior Bowl invites Ricky Stanzi and Christian Ballard) it might surprise you that scouts are actually more interested in the talent that will be playing this game with the Missouri "M" on their helmets during tonight's Insight Bowl.

The focus will, of course, be on quarterback Blaine Gabbert . Possessing an ideal combination of size (6-5, 235) and arm strength, Gabbert certainly looks the part of a first round pick and has the quick release and downfield accuracy scouts are looking for, as well. Among Gabbert's weapons is junior tight end Michael Egnew , himself a potential early entry candidate, who at 6-6, 235 pounds certainly has the size potential scouts are looking for and, unlike Bryan from the Wolfpack, does have the production. In fact, Egnew led all FBS tight ends with 83 receptions for 698 yards and four scores this year. 

Considering that Gabbert takes virtually all of his snaps out of the shotgun, he'll be better protected than most in dealing with Iowa's fearsome defensive line, but should they create pressure on him, it will be interesting to see how well Gabbert is able to move in and out of the pocket. At times, when his feet haven't been set, Gabbert's trademark accuracy has suffered. A strong game against Iowa, however, could springboard Gabbert into the draft.

I'm ever more curious to see how Missouri's pass rushing star Aldon Smith , only a redshirt sophomore, is able to get after Iowa's quarterback. Smith, who earned First Team All-Big 12 honors despite missing the first three games with a broken leg, is a dynamic playmaker (44 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks) who rates as one of the more intriguing rushers potentially available in 2011.

Under the tutelage of Kirk Ferentz, Iowa is as well coached along the offensive line as any team in the country. Like his teammate Gabbert, if Smith puts together an eye-popping performance, it may force him to strongly consider leaving school early.

If you'd like to scout "alongside me" during these and the other bowl games throughout the rest of the college football season, you can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.

Or, if you just want to follow the preeminent draft coverage available, simply click here for NFLDraftScout.com.

Posted on: November 12, 2010 8:59 pm
 

Five Prospects I'll Be Scouting Closely Saturday

Each week I list the five prospects that I'll be focusing on. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

As a side note, I initially planned to include Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton (heard of him?) on this list. With speculation Friday evening that he may not play, I elected to leave him off this list of five. Needless to say, he's among the prospects I'll be scouting closely if he plays Saturday (and any future games).

Those interested in scouting "alongside" me can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.
TE Luke Stocker, Tennessee: Entering the season the Volunteer receiver I expected to be highlighting so far this season would have been Stocker and not wideout Denarius Moore. The Vols simply haven't passed the ball enough to Stocker (24 grabs for 264 yards and one TD) for him to post the type of numbers that generate much media attention, but at 6-5, 253 pounds and possessing good hands and feet for the position, he remains one of the better senior prospects at tight end. There are several highly touted, but so far disappointing prospects on the Tennessee and Ole Miss rosters. I'm looking forward to this game to see which of them (if any) can shake out of their season-long funk. This game begins at 12:00 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri*: Though he's only a junior, scouts are starting to take a long look at Gabbert and the rest of the underclassmen quarterbacks simply because this year's seniors at the position have been so underwhelming. Gabbert has the production (2,193 passing yards, 12 TDs-3 INTs), size (6-5, 240), and efficient delivery that scouts are looking for in a high-ranking prospect, but after a hot start to the season, he (and Missouri, as a whole) has struggled over the past two weeks, suffering losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech. Scouts want to see if Gabbert can bounce back this week against a quality opponent in Kansas State. This game begins at 12:30 pm EST and will be regionally televised by the FOX Sports Network.  

CB Brandon Burton, Utah*: Burton, only a junior, is considered by some scouts to be the best draft-eligible cornerback in the west. While he's played very well throughout his career with the Utes, Burton was beaten for a 93-yard touchdown reception by wideout Josh Boyce last week in the humbling 47-7 home loss to TCU. Scouts like Burton's size (6'0, 185) and speed (estimated at 4.45), but want to see if he can come back with a strong performance this week. That will be tougher than it sounds, as at times he'll match up with Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, himself highly touted NFL prospect (though also only a junior) who at 6-3, 225 pounds is a much different assignment than Boyce and the rest of the Horned Frog receivers were last week. This game begins at 2:30 pm EST and will be televised by NBC.

OT Danny Watkins, Baylor: Quarterback Robert Griffin III and even defensive tackle Phil Taylor have each received their share of media attention as a result of Baylor's 7-3 season. It was Watkins, however, whose draft stock has risen the most this season. Draft Slant readers know full well how high Watkins' stock has risen as I wrote about his performance in last week's game against Oklahoma State. This week, however, Watkins will be facing an entirely different opponent in Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller, my reigning Prospect of the Week. Watkins' quick feet and use of leverage have been impressive this season, but he'll be sorely tested by Miller. This game begins at 7:00 pm EST and will be regionally televised by Fox Sports Network.

DE Cameron Jordan, California: Those surprised with how high former Cal Golden Bear Tyson Alualu was drafted last year may want to start paying attention to Jordan, who, himself is earning top 20 grades from some talent evaluators. Jordan won't beat No. 1 Oregon on his own, but he and his Cal teammates will present the Ducks with a different look, considering that they are one of the few teams that operates out of a base 3-4 defense. Jordan has always been productive for Cal, earning all-conference recognition after each of the past two seasons. He enjoyed arguably his best game to date last week against an overmatched Washington State club, totaling 12 tackles, including four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Scouts love his size (6-4, 285), versatility and blood lines. His father, Steve Jordan, played in six Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. This game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by Versus.


Posted on: October 29, 2010 5:01 pm
 

5 "other" prospects I'll be focusing on Saturday

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'll be attending the Stanford-Washington game Saturday afternoon primarily to scout quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Jake Locker.

That said, while gone, the DVDs will be burning away on the games featuring these five "other" intriguing prospects, as well.

WR Denarius Moore, Tennessee: True sophomore wideout Alshon Jeffrey for the Gamecocks will receive most of the attention (as well he should), but scouts are intrigued by the flashes from Moore. The 6-1, 195 pounder with 4.4 speed has impressed in the past with his playmaking ability and has emerged in this, his senior season, just as former Vols Montario Hardesty and Dan Williams did last year. Moore was knocked out of the Alabama game last week after taking a wicked hit, but is expected to be fine for this matchup. I'm interested to see how he does against a typically stingy and athletic South Carolina secondary. This game begins at 12:20 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: I pointed out the improved play of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins earlier in the week, but his counterpart in this contest deserves every bit as much acknowledgement. Stanzi has always flashed the skill set scouts were looking for, but the strong-armed quarterback had been besieged with costly turnovers. Last year Stanzi completed 56.3% of his passes and threw for an unacceptable 17-15 TD to INT ratio. This season Stanzi's improved play (68.1% completion rate, 16/2 TD-INT ratio) is a major factor in Iowa's 5-2 beginning. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.

CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida*
: I typically only highlight senior prospects in this preview, but this is the game I've circled all year long in grading Jenkins. At times, he'll be matched up against Georgia star A.J. Green and that pairing offers scouts an opportunity to see how the playmaking, but undersized Jenkins might hold up in the NFL. Jenkins started off the season with a huge interception and return for a score in the opener against an overmatched Miami (Ohio) club, but hasn't done nearly as well since. If he is to consider leaving early for the NFL, as is the belief among many scouts, he'll need to step up his game soon. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska : In case you missed it, Amukamara was beaten up a bit by sophomore Justin Blackmon during last weekend's showdown against Oklahoma State. Blackmon, the nation's leading receiver with 62 grabs for 1,112 yards and 14 TDs already caught five passes for 157 yards and two scores, including a dazzling 80-yard score matched up one on one against Amukamara. I pointed out Cornhusker Niles Paul last week as a player who enjoyed a strong bounce-back performance after a prime-time meltdown. Scouts would like to see how Amukamara reacts Saturday after his uncharacteristic struggles. Amukamara and the rest of the 'Huskers will certainly have their hands full against a dynamic Mizzou offense led by junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.

DL Brandon Bair, Oregon: With the Ducks' offense seemingly scoring points at will, it has been hard for any Oregon defender to gain much attention, but with a conference-leading 13 tackles for loss, the 6-6 268 pound Bair certainly deserves it. Bair, who sees action at both defensive end and defensive tackle for the Ducks, could prove key in the big Pac-10 matchup Saturday night against USC. Several are just tuning into Bair's play now. I noticed Bair's play during preseason film review of last year, but as I mentioned then, Bair will have a hard time moving up boards too much considering his age. Bair, who will turn 27 in November, spent two years on an LDS mission prior to beginning his play with the Ducks. This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC. 

Posted on: October 25, 2010 12:00 am
 

Big updates coming this week

This weekend's games marked the halfway point in college football's regular season.

As such, you can expect significant updates on NFLDraftScout.com over the next few days. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I submitted our updated rankings of the Top 5 Seniors Per Position. We also each updated our mock drafts.

I also wrote a Weekend Review of five prospects whose stock changed with their performances Saturday. I can't tell you who all is included in the article, but I will say that the weekend's biggest games are strongly represented, as well as my writeup of the junior quarterback I'm personally higher on than either Arkansas' Ryan Mallett or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

Think I'm referring to Arizona's Nick Foles? Guess again.


Posted on: October 9, 2009 12:35 am
Edited on: October 9, 2009 12:51 am
 

Ticky-Tack Personal Fouls on Suh

Unlike Missouri linebacker Sean Witherspoon, who I explained in a previous post I've been less than impressed with tonight, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been dominant.

He's used explosive strength to consistently push the pocket, sustained effort to track down carriers from behind and a blend of nastiness and intensity that might make him the most feared defensive tackle in the country. Suh doesn't just tackle the ball-carrier, he grabs them, twists them and rips them to the ground. I watched him do this to Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor a few weeks ago and he did the same to Missouri passer Blaine Gabbert. He's also again shown his trademark recognition of the pass, getting his hands up to intercept Gabbard in the third quarter. His pick was arguably the play that turned this game around for a Nebraska.

On a negative note, Suh has been flagged for two costly personal fouls. Both, however, I'd argue were pretty ticky-tack calls that shouldn't drop Suh's ranking with scouts whatsoever.

Suh was flagged for hands to the face on the first penalty. Battling a double-team, Suh's hands initially hit the blocker in the chest. As the players battled, his hands slid up into the throat and face mask of the offensive lineman. Suh's hands were high for approximately one second in real time. Technically, this certainly is a penalty. This penalty, however, could be called on most plays, however, and is especially likely to occur on rainy nights such as this one.

The second penalty was significantly more argumentative. On the play Suh sacked Gabbert, but was flagged for a horse-collar tackle. Suh grabbed the back of Gabbert's jersey (near the letters of his name) with his right arm, and twisting him as he does in many of his tackles, his left arm snaked around to the front and grabbed the front of the passer's jersey. His hand seemed to stop at the top of the numbers, but was close enough to the top-front of Gabbard's shoulder pads that he was called for the penalty.

On both occassions, Suh's ferocity and intensity -- two of the elements that NFL scouts like most -- "earned" him penalty flags on this night.

For those just focusing on the box score, his penalties might loom large. I'd recommend looking at his other numbers (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT despite consistent double-teaming) to appreciate his greater impact on this contest.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com