The Buffalo Bills hosted one highly-touted quarterback prospect earlier in the week. Now the one that’s often paired with Auburn’s Cam Newton has come to One Bills Drive as well. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert paid Buffalo’s coaching staff a visit in Orchard Park on Friday.
Gabbert’s visit was announced by Bills GM Buddy Nix earlier in the week amid a myriad of questions about Newton’s scheduled visit on Tuesday.
“We haven’t done anymore work on Cam Newton than we have Blaine Gabbert, than we have Christian Ponder, (Marcell) Dareus. All those guys,” said Nix. “Three quarterbacks were scheduled to visit at this time and at almost every other position. There are a lot of reasons to bring those guys in. Sometimes you think that might be the one you draft and other times it’s to get a physical and be sure about injuries and also see if the guy can learn football and how much football he knows.”
Dareus visited on Wednesday and Ponder was at the Bills training facility Thursday in what has been a very busy week of pre-draft visits for Buffalo.
Gabbert is widely seen as a top 10 pick, with a good number of draft prognosticators believing he could be the first quarterback off the board after a solid pro day at Missouri last month. For Gabbert the prediction game is not something he wants to be a part of.
“Of course you see the teams that need quarterbacks in this draft,” he said. “Anything can happen on draft day. Trades are likely to happen, people are going to fall. So you really don’t know until you hear your name called in New York.”
At the same time Gabbert admitted that knowing a good number of NFL clubs are in the market for a long-term starting quarterback helped him in choosing to forgo his senior season in Columbia.
“That was definitely a big factor in my decision,” he said. “You’re looking at the top 15 teams and potentially 10 teams could use a quarterback. I know every quarterback in this draft looked at that, not only me. So that was kind of a point that helped me make my decision. That’s why I decided to come out.”
Gabbert has had a private workout with Arizona. He also reportedly has a pre-draft visit scheduled with Cincinnati.
Joining Gabbert on his visit was Arizona OLB Brooks Reed. Reed did not have a stellar senior season in terms of production, but with his strong week at the Senior Bowl and a solid combine workout with 40 times in the mid 4.6s, the college defensive end is convincing NFL scouts he can handle an outside linebacker role.
What stands out most about his game is his non-stop effort. Reed played for Chan Gailey’s South Team at the Senior Bowl this past January.
“He’s had his hand on the ground being a rusher, but he’s probably going to end up either being a pass rush guy or being a stand up linebacker in a 3-4, outside guy,” Gailey said. “His motor is amazing. He has an amazing motor. Every snap he’s going as hard as he can go. You’ve got to give a guy like that a lot of credit. He’s going to play somewhere. I really believe he’ll play somewhere because he’s got the right mindset about how to go after a game.”
“It was a positive experience for me,” said Reed of his Senior Bowl week. “I went down there with a mission to get myself out of the shadows. I wanted to compete and show people that I do have athletic ability and that I can play stand up linebacker. It might take me some time, but I feel I have the athletic ability to do that.”
Reed is forecast as a second-round pick.
Throughout the month of April, we are running 2011 NFL Draft prospect stories each week. In addition, Bills fans can vote in the Bills and M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge who they think will be the Bills first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and have the chance to win a Bills Game Day Experience to remember. Five grand prize winners will get sideline passes, M&T Bank Club tickets that include food and beverage, a Bills Alumni meet and greet and a Bills helmet. Click here to vote.