Is Blaine Gabbert’s draft stock slipping?

Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert runs onto the field for a game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 23, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The closer we get to Thursday’s NFL draft, the more muddled Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s stock appears to be.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi, Gabbert’s draft stock is “slipping” and the 49ers, who hold the seventh overall pick, are only “lukewarm” on the Missouri product. Lombardi even suggests that Gabbert “could easily slide out of the top 10.”

I don’t buy this. I can see the 49ers not being interested in Gabbert, but I don’t see him falling out of the top 10. Yes, the fact that he played in the spread at MIZZOU raises concerns. But Sam Bradford proved last year that just because a QB played in the spread in college, doesn’t mean he won’t be able to tie his shoes without falling over as soon as he reaches the pros.

Gabbert is a big, strong-armed passer with above-average athletic ability and a good football I.Q. Is he unpolished? Yes, much like all quarterback prospects are at this stage. Is he a sure thing? No, but no prospect is a sure thing heading into the draft.

Assuming Carolina passes on him with the first overall pick, the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Titans and Redskins are all possibilities for Gabbert in the top 10. In fact, I really like him at No. 8 overall to Tennessee, which will obviously need a quarterback once it dumps Vince Young. I’m not as connected as Lombardi and I would need a calculator to add up how many times I’ve missed on observations when it comes to previous drafts (a fact readers are never shy to remind me about…a-holes). But I don’t see a well put-together quarterback prospect like Gabbert slipping out of the top 10.

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