For the second straight year, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked many with the 10th overall pick in the draft. This time around, the franchise took a giant step forward as the Blaine Gabbert era has begun. Find out why the deal happened from Jaguars general manager Gene Smith.
Aside from his GQ Magazine good looks, what made Blaine Gabbert attractive to Gene Smith and the Jaguars organization?
"Mentally, physically, there's a lot to like about him," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith told the media. "He's 6'4 ½, 233, he ran a sub-4 6, he's got a good arm, he's a guy that we did a lot of work on We know some of the coaches there exceptionally well that have worked with him, they know his makeup, they know what he did for that football program. The guy won 18 games the last two years, and we see his best football in front of him. He's relatively young, he ran a shotgun, spread offense but I think in time, put him in our coaches hands, he'll develop into an outstanding player for us. "
Gene Smith was always known for his "base-hit" drafting philosophy which included gathering picks, not giving them away. What made this conservative pro change his stripes?
"As a scout you'd certainly like to move back and acquire picks, but there's special situations where you go get a guy that you've done a lot of work on that you feel very good about that," Smith explained. "When a guy starts to slide, especially at the quarterback position, we just felt that it just made too much sense not to get a player that we feel can be a very good player for us in the future. "
The Jaguars attempted to trade up with the Dallas Cowboys to acquire Gabbert but they couldn't get the deal done, as Dallas feared they would lose the ability to select USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith if they moved behind the Detroit Lions.
So the Jaguars called up the Washington Redskins, a team which many figured to be very quarterback needy. Jacksonville offered up their second-round pick (49th overall) and the future of their franchise was changed.
"We went to the next team to make a deal that again, we thought was a good situation to take advantage of to get the player that we wanted," an excited Gene Smith explained.
The Jaguars now have a face of the franchise at quarterback and the franchise now has a direction other than the one which saw they choke away the playoffs during the last two Decembers. It's no longer a matter of if they will go in a different direction but when?
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith would not give a timeline.
"He's an underclassman coming out of a shotgun spread offense," Smith said of the Missouri quarterback. "I can't put a timeline on when he will actually play but we feel like he has not only the physical skills but the mental skills to develop into someone that will be a good player for us in the future but I can't put a definitive timeline on that. "
It's time for Jaguars fans to embrace change, and change could be a very good thing for a franchise that was stuck in neutral- not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to pick in the Top-5. The Jaguars may have selected the premiere quarterback in this draft to lead their team from here on.
Charlie Bernstein is the host of “The Conundrum” on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.