With the Carolina Panthers on the clock and just finishing their tour of private workouts and classroom meetings with this yearara (this is based on the Softli Big Board). the move. His athletic ability jumped off the charts on all rollout passes from naked play-action fakes, spin, slide/move and boot. He needs to work on hot reads, as he tended to jump-pass a few balls. He displayed good body balance and ability to come under control, square his shoulders and set his feet to deliver an accurate pass outside the pocket.
In-pocket accuracy was good. He can stick the ball on the receiver and throw to an area as well. He showed leadership skills, talking and pumping up his receivers with claps, high fives and a casual point.
My conclusion; Gabbert is a good athlete with very good movement skills. His mannerisms, throwing motion, and on-field charisma is that of a quarterback I coached against while at the University of Washington in Drew Bledsoe, who played at Washington State.
Gabbert is a better athlete, but lacks the cannon arm that Bledsoe possessed. In my top 32 regardless of position, Gabbert is ranked ninth and will remain there because I don’t move players up and down the draft rankings based on a spring workout. But, he did solidify himself as a top-five pick in a lot of minds of those NFL coaches and general managers that were in attendance yesterday. When asked by several coaches, scouts and media if this quarterback compares to Sam Bradford, I paused and said no. The grade I put on Bradford, my last draft class with the Rams, was second only to Peyton Manning, who is the quarterback I’ve graded the highest in my 15-year tenure as a personnel man in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Aldon Smith’s impressive freakish physique and athletic skill-set was on display for every team, and he didn’t disappoint. He had explosive first-step quickness, and flashed the ability to stick his foot in the ground and change direction. He was slightly high and upright in bag drills with slight stiffness in his hips to bend, strike and move. He showed power and explosion in hand combat when attacking the bags with a violent slap, sending them bouncing off the ground and back up vertically.
My conclusion: Smith is a young player with a huge upside. He is a straight-liner off the edge with first-step quickness and the ability to turn speed into power, tilt tackles to create separation and burst to close on the quarterback. In my opinion, he is best suited for a 4-3 front as a pass rusher. Smith will need to improve the ability to stack at the point of attack against the run consistently. I feel he lacks the awareness to align as a 3-4 outside linebacker, attack from a two-point stance or drop off and play in space. He just might not be wired right for that position. I like his explosion, athletic movement, and first-step quickness. Keep in mind he is only 21 years old.
There was one other player that opened a lot of eyes and was on the receiving end of over 25 passes from Gabbert: Jamorris Warren of Central Missouri put on a display of acrobatic catches and one-handed snags. He was overlooked coming into the 2010 season because he had only 20 catches and 200 yards in his junior season. He was not written up by either scouting organization, National Football Scouting (NFS) or BLESTO.
Warren had over 1,600 yards in receptions and had several coaches and scouts asking for his draft-day number. As I told Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, this kid just made himself some money and will get drafted off the barrage of catches he made outside his frame.
Thanks again to coach Pinkel and his staff for a great Pro Day. It was extremely well organized, run efficiently and all staff members made sure that everyone was taken care of. Not all Pro Days are put together the way this one was.