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Around the Columns

Scouting former Tigers for the NFL

Blaine Gabbert

During Pro Day, former Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 44 of his 49 passes in front of more than 400 people, including about 125 NFL personnel. File photo

Representatives from every NFL team, including six head coaches as well as Hall of Fame quarterback and Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, attended Mizzou football’s Pro Day on March 17, 2011, at Daniel J. Devine Pavilion.

The star of the show was Blaine Gabbert, the former Missouri standout many experts believe is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. During throwing drills, Gabbert threw to a cast of receivers from smaller Missouri colleges. He was on target with 44 of 49 passes, with one of the misses coming on a deep route of 60-plus yards.

“I threw the football from under center, and that was the biggest thing the coaches wanted to see — that transition,” Gabbert said, referring to the difference between Mizzou’s shotgun-style spread offense and the four- or five-step drop more common in the NFL.

Other former Tigers, including defensive end Aldon Smith and defensive backs Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis, participated in various agility drills.

“I heard stories about a couple Pro Days where there weren’t a lot of people here,” Smith said. “Now you need a wristband to get in, and the crowd has changed. It’s amazing to see what players like Chase Daniel, me and Blaine and people before us have done and where we are now.”

The first round of the NFL Draft is scheduled for April 28, 2011, in New York City.