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TST Community Mock: Round 1, Pick 1

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With the first pick of the 2011 TST Community Mock Draft, the Carolina Panthers select: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri.

from the Carolina rep. beerme is his explanation as to why the Panthers are once again picking a QB early on in the draft:

Selecting quarterbacks first overall is all the rage (again), especially after the success of Sam Bradford, and for good reason. Taking a look at the four teams who vied for their respective league championships shows the need for an elite quarterback. The Jets, Steelers, Packers, and Bears all have quarterbacks who were selected in the first round. None of these teams have question marks at the quarterback position. Even after only one year, it’s pretty obvious Jimmy Clausen is not the answer. With the pick narrowed down to the quarterback position, the decision becomes Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. Cam Newton had an extremely impressive collegiate career and has a ton of raw talent. Blaine Gabbert’s collegiate career is significantly less impressive, but his athleticism, size, and arm strength have had teams take notice. Unfortunately, warranted or not, Newton comes with questions of work ethic and focus, which make selecting him first overall risky. Selecting a quarterback in this spot can make or break a franchise for the better part of a decade. Blaine Gabbert doesn’t come with these same reservations, and has the tools to become an elite pocket passer in the NFL.

Everyone knows that I championed Jimmy Clausen last year, and got burned pretty badly. Still, I'm not sure if it's too early to call him a bust, as rookie QB transitions aren't always like Sam Bradford's. However, if there was one QB that I'd feel most confident about going number one, it would be Gabbert.