Jacksonville Jaguars radio broadcaster and former NFL defensive end Jeff Lagerman believes that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert is going to impress the Niners team once training camp starts. Lagerman believes that Gabbert is going to make the Niners very happy that they got a player as talented as him for just a 6th round draft choice.
The Niners traded a 6th round pick to the Jaguars in the off season to get the 24-year-old Gabbert, who the Jaguars had drafted in the 1st round [No.10] in the 2011 NFL draft. Gabbert, however, played poorly in his three season with the Jaguars, and they eventually lost confidence in him.
“I think when he shows up with the 49ers, he’s going to impress people with his arm and his accuracy,” Lagerman said to Sports Illustrated. They’re going to be watching him practice and they’re going to go, ‘Holy (bleep), we only gave up a sixth round pick for this guy?”
Gabbert completed 53.3 percent of his passes for the Jaguars with a passing rating of 66.4. However, he was constantly pressured by defenses due to the poor offensive line of the Jaguars. In going to the Niners, Gabbert will have a lot more time to get his passes off and that should lead to better results in his throwing.
Dion Banks of Sports Illustrated believes that it’s possible for Gabbert to follow the same career path as former 49ers Alex Smith, whose career was floundering until the Niners added Jim Harbaugh as the team’s head coach. Harbaugh was able to turn Smith’s career around and bring him back to the player they thought he would be when they drafted him in the 1st round in 2005. if Harbaugh is able to turn Gabbert’s career around, then the 49ers might not need to pay their current quarterback Colin Kaepernick $20 million per season.
Harbaugh originally wanted to draft Gabbert to the 49ers in 2011, but the Niners chose to pick defensive end Aldon Smith instead. With Gabbert now joining the 49ers, Harbaugh now has the quarterback that he wanted to draft in the 1st round in 2011. The 49ers selected Kaepernick in the 2nd round in the same year, and he’s had mixed results as the team’s starter. He played well in the half season he played in 2012, but in 2013 he was poor throughout the entire season.
Gabbert, 6’4″, has the same size as Alex Smith, but with a much stronger arm. He was very accurate in college at Missouri, and it’s possible that Harbaugh could return him back to the form that he has back then with a little work.