Trying to predict QB landing spots isn't easy

With a week until the NFL draft, it seems the furthest Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert would fall is to the Redskins at No. 10.

Gabbert could go much higher, but I don't envision a scenario in which at least two quarterbacks aren't taken in the top 10. The next quarterback to go, besides Auburn's Cam Newton, remains a mystery. Teams themselves, and agents for the various quarterbacks, just don't know, either.

Teams such as Minnesota and Miami have spent a lot of time looking at Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder, and Andy Dalton, and any of them could conceivably go in the teens somewhere. Then again, none of them could be selected in that area. When that third quarterback gets selected could have a significant impact on the bottom of the first round and the top of the second.

Smith tops among CBs?

I wrote this back at the NFL Scouting Combine and continue to hear it now: Based on pure skill alone, Colorado's Jimmy Smith is the best cornerback in this draft.

Defensive backs coaches I trust continue to make this case. And, as I pointed out back at the combine, the concerns with Smith are very, very real in terms of off-field decision making. He is getting peppered with many of the same character questions Mallett has been hit with.

There are legitimate risks involved with this young man, but he is also the best pure cover corner out there and has the potential to be a shutdown guy in press-man coverage right away. Teams like the Eagles and Ravens, which have strong, veteran leadership and also have a need at corner, might see too much potential to let Smith slip by.

Expect to hear more about him leading into the draft and I figure someone takes a chance on him in the 20s.

O-line still in demand

Offensive linemen have been beleaguered for a while now, with there not being the kind of dominant talent we've come to expect. However, I still figure at least five go in the first round -- Tyron Smith, Mike Pouncey, Anthony Costanzo, Danny Watkins, and Gabe Carimi -- and would not be surprised if one or two between Nate Solder, Clint Boling, Ben Ijalana, and Derek Sherrod ends up going Thursday night, as well.

"It's lacking in top-10 talent, but we feel like there are a good eight-to-10 offensive linemen who can play," one general manager told me. "We actually like some of the depth there."

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora

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