Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 Breakout Candidate: Blaine Gabbert

By Andrew Fisher
Blaine Gabbert
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ selection of quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 draft hasn’t exactly gone to plan thus far. It’s been a rough go of it for Gabbert in his first two seasons, as he’s battled through injuries and the growing pains of being an NFL quarterback. Consistency has been a problem, with the QB only completing passes at a 53% clip.

While most people probably don’t view Gabbert as a potential breakout star in 2013, he is still a candidate to breakout and finally start to evolve into the quarterback the Jaguars thought they were getting. A breakout season for the third-year QB, would be season were he makes vast improvements across the board and plays well enough to keep his job. Because even though he’s still only 23-years old, he’s already in a make or break situation.

The QB competition is said to have heated up in Jacksonville this offseason, with numerous reports indicating that Chad Henne and Gabbert are both looking good. The new coaching staff is sticking to their story that the competition is real this season, and that the best man will indeed win.

If both guys are truly worthy of the job, and if it’s a toss up, the Jaguars have to go with Gabbert. He’s the one they hand-picked in the draft, so it’s only right that they let him have the starting job from week one, if he earns it.

I believe Gabbert will earn it, and get his shot to lead Jacksonville out of the AFC South cellar. This guy was a machine in college, who threw the ball all over the field. It’s been a rough transition to the pro game, but mainly due to injuries and a bunch of marginal talent around him. The Jaguars finally seem to have things turning around under a new regime, and after fielding a very good draft class. The addition of tackle Luke Joeckel, alone, should do wonders for Gabbert in the pocket.

While he might not be a league-wide breakout star, I think he’ll emerge enough to play out the final year of his contact in 2014.


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