- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Greg Olson tried. So did Mike Sheppard.
Now it’s Frank Scelfo's turn to try to mold Blaine Gabbert into an effective NFL quarterback.
The Jaguars' new quarterbacks coach took a good tact as he spoke with the Jacksonville media on Tuesday.
From Scelfo via Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union:
“If you graded [Gabbert] out right now, this is his draft class. If he were coming out and the quarterback draft class the way it is, would he be the top guy taken? I think the answer is yes.
“Ask the scouting departments and the general managers around the league and I think you would end up with a yes on that. Basically at his age, 23, the number-one pick in the draft with two years of experience already under his belt. That’s pretty good.’’
Scelfo and Jaguars coaches can’t talk football with Gabbert until April.
(What a victory that was for the NFLPA in CBA negotiations! They may not have altered commissioner Roger Goodell’s power, but they managed to keep young players who need all the time they can get with their coaches from even a casual football discussion with new coaches early in the offseason. The players got absolutely smoked by the owners.)
Scelfo said he sees the good in people, which is just the sort of thing Gabbert needs.
“There are so many factors that go into a quarterback’s development. There’s never been a guy who’s been defined by his first two years as to who he’s going to be for the rest of his career,” Scelfo said. “My challenge to Blaine is don’t let the first two years define what your career is going to end up.
“You watch some guys who are pretty good players who don’t have the tools he has.’’
The franchise has been patient with Gabbert. He’s got a third staff in three years and will benefit from the fact that no great alternative in free agency or the draft is staring the Jaguars in the face. A year from now, that may not be the case.
He’ll dig in, get to know Scelfo, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and coach Gus Bradley.
And we’ll see if more lights come on for Gabbert in Year 3.