Today Andrew Perloff for Sports Illustrated put out his first mock for the 2011 draft, and in a surprising move he has Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert as the #1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers.
If you've been keeping up with the trends thus far you'll know that Gabbert has meteorically risen up the draft board since Andrew Luck decided to return to school, and typically this seems like the usual 'we need a QB!' panic. However, when pro-scouts are telling SI's Don Banks about the traits of Gabbert and respected analysts Mike Mayock and Todd McShay are sold on him one has to wonder.
I've said since day one that I'm not sure what the big deal is with Gabbert, but I'm also not getting paid six-figures to project what kind of NFL player he will be. Whatever way you cut it any player shooting up the draft board is a good thing for the Panthers, especially a QB. If Panthers decide to wait and try an develop Clausen then having a guy who some believe to be worthy of a #1 overall pick bodes well for if they want to trade back, and if they're not sold on him and the concencus is that Gabbert is worth it, then who knows?
The 2011 draft is three months away, and it's getting more and more fascinating by the day.
Tip of the hat to ERL for first linking the mock.