NFL: Panthers skip Gabbert’s Pro Day
COLUMBIA, Mo. ó Six head coaches, several general managers and a Hall of Fame passer turned front-office executive joined scouts from each of the 32 NFL teams to watch former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert as he worked out with a chance to be the No. 1 selection in Aprilís draft.
The Carolina Panthers, who have the draftís top choice, sent several representatives. Coach Ron Rivera was scheduled to attend but did not.
The crowd at Missouriís pro day Thursday included Denver Broncos vice president John Elway and coach John Fox, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee coach Mike Munchak.
Gabbert is a likely first-round pick and hopes to be the first quarterback chosen in the April 28 draft ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Washingtonís Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas. Some draft analysts project him as the overall top pick.
Gabbert, who is leaving Missouri following his junior year, said he embraces the prospect of being a top pick. Heís represented by powerhouse agent Tom Condon, whose QB clients include former first-round picks Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Matt Stafford and Sam Bradford.
Bradford was selected as the top overall draft choice in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams, and, like Gabbert, was a quarterback who had to convince scouts he could transition from throwing out of the shotgun in a college spread offense to taking snaps under center.
Like Condonís other clients, Gabbert chose not to throw at the Indianapolis combine in late February, making Thursdayís showcase even more important for the NFL talent evaluators.
ěThis is fun,î Gabbert told a throng of reporters after his workout. ěIím going to be happy with whoever picks me.î
Gabbert completed 44-of-49 throws in a scripted sequence.