NFL Network draft analyst Charley Casserly hasn’t hidden his belief that Auburn QB Cam Newton shouldn’t be a first-round pick. So when it comes to a quarterback class in which every prospect has question marks, it’s Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert who Casserly lists as top-rated at the position.
Casserly believes Gabbert warrants a top-5 pick, and his pre-draft ranking is “a notch” below three recent first-round QBs: No. 1 overall picks Sam Bradford (2010) and Matt Stafford (2009), and third overall pick Matt Ryan (2008).
“I think he’s got the physical skills,” Casserly said of Gabbert. ”I think he’s got the arm strength, the athletic ability. I think he can make plays on the run. Gabbert can do everything Newton can do (in terms of) movement ability as far as throwing and making plays. … I think he shows the ability to read defenses, even in the spread (offense). I think there is obviously a transition that he’s going to have to make.”
Casserly uses the word “star” when it comes to Gabbert’s future in the NFL. In the last version of his mock draft top 10, he had Gabbert going No. 4 overall to the Bengals.