When the 49ers acquired Blaine Gabbert in a trade with the Jaguars in March of 2014, his career was in a death spiral.
The quarterback had been the 10th overall choice of the 2011 draft, yet he had huge problems in Jacksonville. He lost his starting job, went 5-22 as a starter, suffered injuries and was an interception machine, with more picks (24) than touchdown throws (22).
Some analysts believed Gabbert was doomed from the start with the Jags, being thrown into the lineup on a weak team before he was ready.
So, when the Niners traded for him, it was uncertain what they were getting.
But in 2015, Gabbert rebounded. He took over the starting job from a struggling and injured Colin Kaepernick and exceeded expectations. In eight starts he had a losing record (3-5) but posted an 86.2 quarterback rating. He completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards and 10 TDs vs. seven interceptions. He showed he could run (5.8 yards per carry on 32 attempts) and many teammates said he was a steady leader.
Now, as the 49ers begin training camp this week, many NFL analysts are predicting Gabbert will beat out Kaepernick this summer, and some reports have said people within the 49ers organization see Gabbert as a better fit with Chip Kelly’s offense after offseason practices.
Now, former 49ers starting guard Alex Boone has thrown his voice into the mix with a vote for Gabbert to start this coming season.
Boone, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, told Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk that he believes Gabbert has what it takes to lead the 49ers.
“To be honest, I think that Blaine did a great job last year,” Boone told Florio. “And from what I know of Blaine, I think he’s probably gonna take the reins. I mean, I think he’s a good guy, he knows what he’s doing out there and he just has the support of the group so I think that’s one of the things to look forward to.”