Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is out of April's NFL Draft, leaving Missouri's Blaine Gabbert as supposedly the best available gunslinger. That was confirmed when Sports Illustrated released a mock draft on Wednesday.
SI pegs Gabbert as not only the best signal caller in the draft but also the No. 1 overall pick, going to the Carolina Panthers. Yes, even after the game he had against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl.
Of course, this puts Gabbert ahead of everyone in a class that includes quarterbacks Cam Newton of Auburn and Ryan Mallet of Arkansas.
Here is Sports Illustrated's reasoning:
Quarterbacks have gone No. 1 overall eight out of the past 10 years. CAA, which represents Gabbert, has represented seven of the past eight overall No. 1 picks. Despite playing in a spread offense at Missouri, Gabbert is the top-rated quarterback and is the kind of player Carolina could sell to its fans.Makes sense. Also projected as a first rounder is Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith. SI has him going at No. 8 to the Tennessee Titans.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Smith is going to blow people away at the combine and jump up the board. But he won't be just a workout wonder. He had 11.5 sacks as a freshman at Missouri, and 5.5 last season, when he missed three games with a broken leg. Longtime Titans defensive line mastermind Jim Washburn may be able to turn him into the next Jevon Kearse.Having two players drafted in the top 10 will look really good for the Tigers on draft day. The drawback: Their absences will hurt on the field in 2011.