Buffalo native Greg Gabriel was director of college scouting for the Bears for nine years and was a college scout for the Giants for 16 years before that. He's now a columnist for the National Football Post. Gabriel has written columns in the past two weeks on both Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. The bottom line is he doesn't love either of them as a top-10 pick ... or even a top 10 pick. Here are a few excerpts from his two columns, plus the link to the Newton column:
"As much as I like Newton the player, I don’t trust Newton the person and at the position he plays there has to be trust. He has 3 documented issues from his college days, two at Florida and the recruiting issues with Mississippi State. I don’t believe for a minute he didn’t know what was going on at Mississippi State. The two issues at Florida are serious issues that deal with a person’s personal character. He was involved in a theft…people can say he was young…I don’t buy that excuse! I have been told that in front of the cameras, he is all smiles and a pleasure to deal with but behind the scenes he can be arrogant and have a “me first” attitude. There are teammates that question his authenticity as a person."
"As a starting NFL quarterback, that player is the designated leader of the team. If he has character issues, how can he be the team leader? His teammates HAVE to respect and trust him. I have no doubt that Newton will go high in the draft but it will be a tough decision for the team that drafts him. He is a “Hit or Miss” prospect because of the character issues. If they “Hit” it could be an all time great pick, if they “Miss” it could end up causing the decision maker his job!"
On Gabbert, Gabriel likes the physical tools, but he does not like how Gabbert handles pressure. He also says Gabbert drops his arm down on longer throws, which adversely affects his accuracy throwing downfield.
Says Gabriel: "Gabbert is not ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He is going to have to learn to take a snap from under center and drop back. His NFL coaches are going to have to fix the changes in his delivery and he is also going to have to learn to stay in the pocket and step up while reading receivers. He is also going to have to learn to read the whole field, something he has never done. This is not something that can be done overnight, it will take time! A club will probably draft him somewhere in the first round but I’m not so sure he is really a first-round talent. He is a long ways away from being ready to play and the lockout doesn’t help him!"
Meanwhile, ESPN analyst Todd McShay is not a big fan of Cam Newton's, either, and he has some reservations about Gabbert as well, which he discussed on a media conference call on Wednesday: Said McShay: "As much as I like Blaine Gabbert – and I do think he can become, maybe not Aaron Rodgers, but someone in that ballpark a few years down the road – that we have to kind of take a step back from the last few years and maybe go back to the old mentality of sitting a guy and developing him…He’s got to become more consistent throwing the ball down the field and I just think there’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve coming from that system to the NFL. But does he have it, absolutely. I think he has it mentally. I think he has the work ethic. And, most importantly, he’s accurate enough to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s the only quarterback in this class that I would draft in the top 10.”