Jack Del Rio didn’t know Jags were taking Blaine Gabbert

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Not only did former Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith take a punter instead of Russell Wilson, he took a Blaine Gabbert without telling his coach.

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.

22 responses to “Jack Del Rio didn’t know Jags were taking Blaine Gabbert

  1. There was a lot of media buzz about Gabbert as a prospect, and I never could figure out why. He never seemed like a 1st-round talent.

  2. Ahhhh, Gene Smith rearing his head again. Gabbert and Derrick Harvey are two of the biggest misses that set the franchise back a decade. Others may bring up Alualu, but he was a fine player… just over drafted.

  3. 8 years ago I had a bet with my friend that Tim Tebow would have more NFL wins as a starter than Blaine Gabbert. It took Blaine Gabbert 7 years to do it.

  4. I think Jack’s a good coach. I think the Raiders made a huge mistake. And I think someone will give Del Rio a job again if he wants one and he’ll do well.

  5. This is why some coaches are hesitant to take some jobs with entrenched GMs. For better or worse, draft selections have a big impact on the HC’S ability to win games. If your guy is giving up valuable picks to move up to select Gabbert and drafting punters in the top half of the draft, you’re not winning many games. Direct correlation.

  6. Just don’t understand why a GM has so much power over a guy who actually knows football…

  7. The HC should get to make the 1st pick then let the scouts and GM make the rest. As Parcells said, If you want a guy to cook, you ought to let him buy the groceries, or something like that.

  8. To be fair no one picked Wilson until the mid-3rd in 2012 – a year when several teams were looking (in 1st rd after Luck to Colts, Skins took RG3, Phins took Tannehill, Browns took Weedon; in 2nd rd Broncos took Osweiller). Similar story in 2011, Cam to Panthers #1, then Titans took Jake Locker with the 8th pick, and after Gabbert at #10, the Vikes decided at #12 that Christian Ponder was the best remaining QB (Dalton and Kaep went in rd 2). given that meagre choice (only other “notables” were Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Mallet in later rounds), Gabbert doesn’t seem overly bad – remember he later outcompeted Kaep for 9ers starter spot.

  9. Why is he going and getting food during the draft. You have assistants to do that. You would think a coach would be in the room for the whole draft every second except for quick bathroom breaks. What if the phone rang for a trade why he is getting food. They can’t wait for him to get back when they have a time crunch to accept. The whole thing just sounds like an excuse.

  10. It was like a fantasy draft move by the Jags. There was a run on QBs. The Jags hopped on the train. Gabbert was as shocked as anyone.

    The Jags draft that season should go down as one of the worst in NFL history.

  11. pnut2380 says:
    June 26, 2019 at 9:54 am
    Why is he going and getting food during the draft. You have assistants to do that. You would think a coach would be in the room for the whole draft every second except for quick bathroom breaks. What if the phone rang for a trade why he is getting food. They can’t wait for him to get back when they have a time crunch to accept. The whole thing just sounds like an excuse.
    ——————————————————————————————
    You do understand the draft is a nerve-racking experience and people do try to clear their heads and do normal people things while its going on. The lack of communication is the most alarming part. This isn’t the most loyal business.

  12. I believe Jack del Rio on this after watching the worst GM in NFL history (Gene Smith) at work. He truly thought that he was smarter than everyone else and thought that he could take “gems” from small schools that were not on anyone’s draft board and win a Super Bowl. When Shad Khan bought the team on 2012, Smith told him that the Jags were ready for a Superbowl run THAT season. They ended up winning 2 games and he was fired.
    Smith set this team back at least a decade and you notice where other former GMs get other non-GM gigs after they are fired ? NOT Gene Smith, he’s awful !!

  13. Del Rio skirting responsibility for an unpopular decision, basically saying he can’t manage his appetite on the biggest day of the offseason and throwing his GM under the bus. Too late to cut wood now, Del Rio.

  14. Why in God’s name is this guy getting so many opportunities to run his gob?

    And I’ll add that there are a whole lot of things Jack Del Rio doesn’t know. Apparently, the fact that the HC needs to stay in the war room during the 1st round of the draft is one of those things.

  15. To this day, I remain fascinated by Blaine Gabbert. Nearly 6’5, 240 pounds, a 4.62 40 at the 2011 Combine, a crazy high 42 on the Wonderlich, a major league fastball, a good runner – this guy is the prototype for the prototype of an NFL quarterback. Every time I see him play, I think – this is the game that begins his trajectory to stardom. But it’s always the same – an excellent pass or two, a good run, today’s the day, then if’s not. Indecisiveness and the football instincts of a Qwki-Mart clerk take over, every single time. Still, the next time I see him play……

  16. Let’s not forget Gene Smith’s brilliant reasoning for drafting a punter in the 3rd round…he wanted to draft “starters”.

    He also never saw a DIII player he didn’t think was a diamond in the rough. Sometimes that’s just a rock, Gene.

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