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Sportress of Blogitude

Jack Del Rio had ‘no idea’ Jags were drafting Blaine Gabbert

Jack Del Rio recently shared an alarming anecdote from his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, one that points to how the organization suffered from a dysfunctional power structure during his tenure.

Del Rio, who served as Jags head coach from 2003-11, revealed that he had no clue the team was set to select Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick during the 2011 NFL Draft. Del Rio also mentioned that he was grabbing a bite when the pick was made.

“I had no idea we were going to draft Blaine Gabbert. No idea,” Del Rio said Tuesday, via ESPN Jacksonville 690. “In fact, I left to go get something to eat because our pick wasn’t for much longer in the draft. I’m sitting there filling my plate thinking, ‘Oh great, we’ve got a couple more hours until we pick.’ Then, I look up and see ‘The Jaguars are on the clock.’ I’m like ‘What the blank is going on?'”

As Del Rio mentions, the Jaguars weren’t expected to make their first-round pick for awhile, but then-general manager Gene Smith made a trade with the Washington Redskins to move up six spots without keeping Del Rio in the loop.

Hindsight obviously demonstrates taking Gabbert at No. 10 was a mistake. Del Rio noted according to his scouting and research, the Missouri product “wasn’t a first-rounder,” nor was the quarterback “a guy to trade and go up to get him.”

“So that was not part of coaching, that was not part of me,” Del Rio said of the Gabbert pick. “That was my first indication that my time there was running short.”

In the end, Del Rio was spot on in his assessment of the situation as the palatable disconnect between the front office and head coach was a harbinger of things to come, as Del Rio was fired during the season after posting a 3-8 record and Smith was cut loose a year later.

Gabbert, meanwhile, is now serving as Jameis Winston’s backup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and continues to carve out a career in the NFL. The same cannot be said for either Del Rio and Smith.