Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
Unlike my esteemed colleague, Mr. James Brady, I'm interested in the facts surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert. I'm interested in learning and projecting, and most importantly: understanding. Mr. Brady may think Gabbert is bad and that he's reached his peak, but I, Semaj Ydarb, believe this to be both untrue and short-sighted.
Gabbert is still just 26 years old, and after five seasons in the league his ceiling is still a moving target. That's not to suggest that the former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback should be given the starting job right off the bat and it's not to suggest that he is franchise quarterback material.
There is a slew of Jaguars fans who will tell each and every one of you that you're making a terrible, terrible mistake if you put any faith or trust in Gabbert. Mr. Brady would also make such a suggestion. It's not completely unfair given what Jaguars fans went through.
Gabbert played 15 games as a rookie in 2011, completing just 50.8 percent of his passes for 2,214 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He improved slightly the following season, upping his completion percentage to 58.3 percent. But in his final season with the team, he played in just three games and completed a paltry 48.8 percent of his passes.
Not only that, Gabbert looked lost. He looked uncomfortable. He looked like he had no idea what was going on. He played nervous and he played scared.
But to suggest that Gabbert hasn't improved would be a huge lie more than anything else. In eight games with the 49ers last season, Gabbert completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he looked like he belonged in the NFL, at the very least.
And that's something. That's something worth holding onto. He looked a whole lot better than Colin Kaepernick, though a quarterback battle is certainly in order.
Why he might improve
Gabbert improved when he joined the 49ers. He has a head coach who seems like he believes in him in Chip Kelly. He has the confidence of having outplayed Kaepernick soundly last season. He knows that he has an honest chance at being the starting quarterback. Confidence can go a long way, especially for a player who likely lost it all within a few games with the Jaguars. Of course, it's also worth pointing out the fact that Gabbert could be a good fit in Kelly's offense, and that the team should in general be better than they were under Jim Tomsula, who was hardly equipped to handle the head coaching position.
Why he might regress
Then again ... there is more bad film on Gabbert than there is good film, and not even I can deny that. He's struggled a lot more than he's found success, and with only eight games of average to below average play to show with the 49ers. Gabbert is a draft bust, whether or not he excels with the 49ers. There is also the chance that he doesn't pick up the offense well, or that he doesn't see the field at all because he loses a quarterback battle. Anything is possible.
Odds of making the roster
Gabbert is in the starting quarterback picture, and even if he loses the 49ers will keep him around in case Kaepernick regresses or gets injured. He's not losing his spot in 2016, that's for certain.