A week in which most NFL headlines have revolved around a certain University of Tennessee quarterback has also been a big week for former University of Missouri quarterbacks.
The New Orleans Saints re-signed former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel on Tuesday to continue as Drew Brees’ understudy for at least another year. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed quarterback Chad Henne to push former Tiger Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. With both players’ names in the news, the Zoulogy staff debated which quarterback’s future is brighter.
Kevin Acciani: While at Missouri, both Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert had great success quarterbacking the Tigers, combining for 40 wins over four seasons for the best run in school history. Daniel was arguably the better player in college, but Gabbert had much more fanfare entering the league. However, I feel that, when compared to expectations, Daniel will have a better career than Gabbert.
Daniel, despite an outstanding college career, went undrafted, while Gabbert was the number ten pick. No one expects much out of an undrafted quarterback, while a top 10 pick has great expectations attached to them. Daniel has already surpassed nearly every expectation placed on him by sticking with the Saints for so long and earning a Super Bowl ring, even though it was as a backup quarterback. If Daniel becomes the heir to Drew Brees, as many expect, then he will have without a doubt become miles better than he was “supposed” to be.
Gabbert will become a better player, but not when compared to their expectations. Despite a disappointing rookie season, he will improve and be at least an average quarterback. However, he will not be as good as one would expect from the number 10 draft pick.
Chelsea Fricker: I think this argument about who will have a more successful pro career, Gabbert or Daniel, really depends on how you define successful. Both of them are obviously Tiger legends and will go down as two of the best quarterbacks to ever play at Mizzou, that however doesn’t say anything about how you will do in the NFL. Exhibit A: Troy Smith at The Ohio State University. He won a Heisman for OSU in 2006, was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round, and after bouncing around is now signed with the Steelers. (who knew?) Smith’s early career path is slightly reminiscent of Chase Daniel. I strongly believe however, that it will have a very different outcome.
There are a variety of ways to describe success in the NFL. The main ways are according to salary, number of championships, experience, and playing time. Blaine Gabbert obviously has two of those in the bag. After signing a four-year, $12 million contract with the Jaguars and having one of the worst rookie seasons on record, Gabbert now sits on a depth chart with two other quarterbacks who have never thrown a touchdown in the NFL so he has a chance to start again this year. So in those two ways, yes Gabbert will have the most successful NFL career. If you look at the other two categories however, Gabbert’s career peaked at Mizzou.
In my opinion, Chase Daniel will have the most successful career based off of experience. (Hey, he technically already has a ring!) Daniel just signed a one-year contract with the Saints to sit behind Drew Brees, who runs one of the best offenses in the league. We see it happen time and time again where young quarterbacks who are willing to sit on the bench and learn from a veteran quarterback oftentimes get traded or take over the team and become very successful: Aaron Rodgers who sat behind Brett Farve, Carson Palmer who sat behind Jon Kitna (okay, he was good for a while – don’t deny it), Kevin Kolb who sat behind Donovan McNabb, and Matt Flynn who is currently behind Aaron Rodgers but could be on his way to becoming a starter elsewhere. In recent years we have seen the rise of NFL-ready college prospects but in the case of the two Missouri quarterbacks there frankly wasn’t one. Daniel will have the most successful NFL career because he is being given the chance to grow and learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He will probably never be as successful as Brees but if he has a breakout game like Flynn did in Green Bay, he could find himself in a similar situation where a starting job comes calling.
Hank Koebler: I think the only reason this is even a remotely close question is because of when both players were drafted. Chase Daniel went undrafted, but somehow Gabbert, who wasn’t anywhere near as good in college as Daniel was, ended up as a top-10 pick. Gabbert didn’t just have a bad rookie year; he was in a historic pantheon of awfulness (if that’s even a word).
I know you can’t read too much into preseason performances, but Chase Daniel looks to be coming along nicely and could very well be the heir to Drew Brees’ throne in New Orleans. Gabbert, on the other hand, will probably lose his starting job by the end of the preseason. Chad Henne’s not exactly a top-tier quarterback,but he looks like Tom Brady compared to Gabbert. Gabbert had a 50.8% completion percentage in his rookie season, and most of those completions were on easy throws: 285 of his 413 pass attempts were 20 yards or less.
Henne has a much better deep ball than Gabbert. He barely played at all due to injury in 2011, but in 2010 he completed 63.2 percent of his pass attempts of 20 yards or more, compared to Gabbert’s abysmal 39.8 completion percentage on such throws. For an offense so reliant on the running game, deep bombs on play-action plays are going to be way more important than dump-off passes, so Henne is a much better fit for Jacksonville’s offense.
So let’s get this straight. We’ve got one quarterback sitting behind a potential Hall of Famer, with an offensive system, coaching staff and surrounding talent conducive to producing success at the quarterback system. We’ve got another quarterback who plays for an organization that historically has not done a good job of surrounding quarterbacks with the tools for success and whose top offensive weapon is an aging running back. Given those circumstances, if the players’ skills were comparable, Daniel would be in position to be more successful than Gabbert. When you factor in that Daniel also has a much better throwing motion and infinitely better pocket presence, we’ll be laughing in three years that this conversation was something that was actually something debatable.
Harrison McLean: Out of the last three quarterbacks that moved from Mizzou to the NFL, only two remained at the quarterback position and only one actually plays quarterback. Chase Daniel led Mizzou through one of its greatest stretches in football history, while Blaine Gabbert was the highest profile recruit to come to the Tigers until some guy named Dorial Green-Beckham rolled through. Both are in the NFL, and I believe that Gabbert will be the better quarterback than Daniel.
Gabbert had a pretty rough rookie year, throwing for 2,214 yards, 12 TDs and 11 INTs while completing just 50.8% of his passes. However, it has been noted especially during the draft process that Gabbert was not an NFL ready quarterback coming out of college. He appeared to land in a good spot in Jacksonville with David Garrard, an established NFL quarterback in front of him where he could sit for a couple of years and mature. But shortly before the season started, the Jaguars cut Garrard, leaving Gabbert in a situation which he was not prepared for. They threw him into the fire on short notice, and he predictably struggled.
Daniel has played in the NFL for three years and has thrown eight passes for 45 yards. Total. Granted he is playing behind Drew Brees who never misses games and is one of the NFL’s elite, but Daniel is an unproven except at holding kicks, which he’s pretty good at from what I can tell. The fact that he signed with the Saints for another year could say something about his development or skills as a quarterback. There is always a need for a quality backup quarterback in the NFL, but Brees doesn’t need a great backup since he never gets hurt. If Daniel is ready to be a quality quarterback, he could have taken his talents elsewhere to a place that he is more likely to play in. Also, Gabbert seems to fit the mold physically of a quarterback, with a big body and big arm, which is a great starting point for developing a quarterback.
Gabbert had a bad rookie year, but it shouldn’t have been a rookie year that he would be a full-time starter. Gabbert needs time to grow and has the potential to be a good quarterback down the road. Not saying that Daniel can’t be good in the future, but there is more potential for a lottery draft pick than someone who has thrown eight passes in three years. Plus, Gabbert has great hair.
Joe Proszek: Blaine Gabbert had an awful year. Chase Daniel has a super bowl ring. Daniel’s team is a consistent lock for the playoffs. Gabbert’s team won five games last season. And Blaine Gabbert will be the more successful quarterback of the two.
Granted, Gabbert’s numbers were obscenely bad last year. He completely barely 50 percent of his passes, while Daniel completed every pass he threw in 2011. Only problem is, Daniel only attempted three passes to Gabbert’s 413.
Gabbert, despite his struggles this season, has a starting job in the NFL with a higher ceiling to grow. Daniel’s biggest contribution is holding the point after kick after the man in front of him throws record-breaking touchdowns. Though the Jaguars were last in the league in passing per game, there is still promise for Gabbert and Jacksonville.
With a year under his belt as an NFL starter, Gabbert already has more experience than Daniel. He’s had more time to adapt to an NFL style rush and to read NFL style coverage schemes. Additionally, he has the benefit of 1600-yard rusher Maurice Jones-Drew to take the pressure off. Though his rookie season was mediocre at best, he has no where to go but up, considering he still has three years left on his rookie deal.
Meanwhile Daniel signed a one-year contract to remain with the Saints at least one more season, but who knows how long he’ll actually be there. A one-year deal is not much of a commitment, especially to a quarterback who has had almost no real game experience in three seasons.
Ben Wilson: While at Mizzou, quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert operated under the same type of offense, and experienced much of the same success as well. But upon entering the NFL, the two have taking completely different paths. Now the question that must be asked is, who will end up having a better career?
I believe that, without a doubt, Daniel is in line to have an extremely productive NFL career. As a backup to Drew Brees, he has and will continue to learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the league as long as he stays in New Orleans, along with the fact that the Saints feature one of the most prolific offenses in the game. As we have seen in the past, the quarterbacks who are given time to mature end up with more confidence in the long run, and have better careers. While anybody you ask now would say that Aaron Rodgers is much better than Alex Smith (Both were 1st round picks in 2004), the answer might have been much different leading up to the draft. But Rodgers had several years to learn under Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play, whereas Smith was thrown under center in San Francisco immediately, and was expected to be the next Joe Montana despite having no offensive weapons and a revolving-door-like coaching staff.
Gabbert certainly has potential and boatloads of talent, but the issue with young quarterbacks who experience early growing pains is their confidence. Even a guy like Sam Bradford, who set all kinds of records as a rookie, suffered a loss of confidence as a result of being with a bad team, having no offensive weapons, and not much of an offensive line. It’s not like people should consider Gabbert’s career to be over, as he has only played one lockout-shortened season. But if the trends are any indication, it is Daniel who will end up having the better career.
Final verdict: Gabbert 2, Daniel 4