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Draft Class Peers Gabbert, Kaepernick Reunite

Posted Mar 14, 2014

Blaine Gabbert will now compete to back up the quarterback drafted 26 spots behind him in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick were drafted 26 selections apart from each other in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Fast forward three seasons, and the two athletic quarterbacks are now teammates. Gabbert, who was acquired by the 49ers from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Tuesday trade, arrived in the Bay Area on Friday, passed his physical and is now officially a member of his second NFL team.

Gabbert, the 10th overall selection in the draft, is now slated to backup Kaepernick, the 36th choice in their draft class.

Both players have gone through different experiences in their respective careers. Kaepernick made a Super Bowl appearance in his second season. Gabbert, on the other hand, has been traded to his second team.

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Gabbert said he will support San Francisco’s starting quarterback in any way possible.

“He’s a great quarterback,” Gabbert said of Kaepernick, a player he once beat head-to-head in college. “What he’s been able to accomplish so far in his career is remarkable. I’m just looking forward to working with him.”

Gabbert, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound signal-caller, has played in 28 games and has 27 starts under his belt. He’s completed 414 of 777 attempts for 4,357 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in his career.

“We thought highly of Blaine as an early entry into the 2011 NFL Draft,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a release. “He is a high-character individual that will be given every opportunity to develop within our system, and we are looking forward to working with him.”

Gabbert said the feeling is mutual.

“I’m happy to be here, and I’m going to put my best foot forward,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m going to go out there with the mindset of just getting better. I’m going to attack this opportunity that I have here for a fresh start and just help this team elevate their level of play.”

Gabbert is now the third quarterback on San Francisco’s current roster. He joins Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson on the team’s depth chart.

Gabbert’s NFL experience will help him compete to be Kaepernick’s backup. He also has familiarity with the 49ers perimeter weapons.

“They’re talented,” Gabbert said of a receiving group led by Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. “I remember watching them on tape from the opponents we played last year. What they were able to do has been great. It makes a quarterback’s job a lot easier when you have guys who can make plays after the catch.”

Gabbert, however, is most knowledgeable about a former collegiate teammate at the University of Missouri, Aldon Smith, who was the No. 7 overall pick from the 2011 draft.

“We came to Mizzou together in 2008, and you knew he was going to be special right away,” Gabbert said of San Francisco’s pass-rushing outside linebacker. “And what he’s been able to accomplish so far, his ability to rush passers, it’s second to none.

“It’s fun to watch and he’s going to be a good teammate to have.”

Gabbert wasn’t in a rush to leave San Francisco’s new facility. That’s why he pushed back his flight out of the Bay Area.

“It’s a storied franchise and having the chance to be a part of it,” Gabbert said, “the history that’s a part of this organization, now we’re looking to make more memories for the future and really get this team to the next step.”


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