That’s what former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said during an interview with ESPN 690 in Jacksonville, recalling the Jaguars, ahem, bold move to trade up in the 2011 NFL Draft to take the Missouri quarterback 10th overall.
“I had no idea we were going to draft Blaine Gabbert,” Del Rio said. “No idea. In fact, I left to go get something to eat because our pick wasn’t for much longer in the draft. I go and then I’m sitting there filling my plate thinking, ‘Oh great, we’ve got a couple more hours until we pick.’ Then I see, ‘The Jaguars are on the clock.’ I’m like, ‘What the blank is going on?’
“I walk into the draft room, and I could see it on the faces of the people in the room. They knew how uncomfortable that was, how wrong that was.”
And that was before they saw Gabbert play.
Del Rio wasn’t around to see the full Gabbert Era, as he was fired before the end of the quarterback’s rookie season. Which, he seems fine with.
“He wasn’t a first rounder,” Del Rio said. “He wasn’t a guy to trade and go up to get him . . . So that was not part of coaching, that was not part of me. That was my first indication that my time there in J-ville was running short.”
Of course, there were reasons for that being true which had nothing to do with Gabbert, as a 2007 playoff berth was followed by a 23-36 record for Del Rio. But distancing himself from the Gabbert decision helps take some of the blame off him, though there was plenty to go around during that time.