The traveling road show that is the series of Pro Day workouts at colleges around the country landed in Columbia on Thursday and the star was former Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert.
Under the direction of his tutor, former Chiefs quarterbacks coach Terry Shea, Gabbert entertained and educated a large collection of NFL personnel from all 32 teams, with scouts, assistant coaches, coordinators, six head coaches and three GMs watching indoors at the Devine Pavilion.
Coming into the Pro Day session, Gabbert was tagged a first-round choice in April’s NFL Draft. Coming out of the Pro Day work, Gabbert may have guaranteed he’ll be the first quarterback selected and there’s the possibility that he could become the first player taken.
That No. 1 choice belongs to the Carolina Panthers and while their head coach Ron Rivera and GM Marty Hurney were not in the building, they will be on Saturday when they have a private workout with Gabbert.
Shea designed a passing script of 64 passes, trying to showcase Gabbert’s arm strength and accuracy. By various counts among observers, Gabbert connected on 58 throws. Several of the misses were drops, but several of the completions were courtesy of some very good catches by the receivers. All but three of the throws came after Gabbert took a snap from under center. That’s key to the NFL types since his college career was spent in the spread offense of Gary Pinkel.
“His ability to move I thought was exceptional,” Shea told the media attending the event. “He made some of his best throws on the move.”
Shea works for Gabbert’s agent, former Chiefs offensive lineman Tom Condon. That might be the biggest factor when it comes to his chances of being the first choice. Condon and his firm CAA has had several QBs go No. 1 in the Draft, including last year with Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams.
Gabbert’s dance card is very full these days. On Wednesday night, he had dinner and a tape session with representatives from the Buffalo Bills. On Friday, he’s scheduled to meet with the Minnesota Vikings so he can look at some tape with head coach Leslie Frazier. On Saturday, he’ll have his private workout for Carolina and then next Wednesday, he’ll have a private workout for the Arizona Cardinals.
The head coaches attending the Pro Day – that had work by other players including potential first-round choice DE/OLB Aldon Smith – were Frazier, San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh, Tennessee’s Mike Munchak, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, Denver’s John Fox and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets. The Broncos have the second choice, the Bills the third, Bengals the fourth, 49ers have the seventh, The Titans own the eighth choice and the Vikings open at the twelth position. Ryan’s Jets have the 30th choice.