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Panthers Coach Reveals How Close Team Was to Drafting Blaine Gabbert Over Cam Newton

Well luckily for Ron Rivera, his legacy won’t be centered around a "30 For 30" on the bypassing of Cam Newton.

In Blaine Gabbert’s defense, it seems like the light has finally gone for the possible San Francisco 49ers starter, but it doesn’t erase the disaster of his stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ron Rivera went on to draft Cam Newton No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he tells a story of almost passing up on the 2015 MVP winner while speaking at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic on Monday.

“Remember, we had the No. 1 pick, and we were talking quarterback,” Rivera recalled, according to Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “And it came down to Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. Those were the two guys we targeted and looked at, and looked at really, really hard.”

Carolina clearly made the right decision in selecting Newton, while Gabbert was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars 10th overall. Gabbert was awful with the Jags, and looked lost while throwing 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in his first three seasons.

Gabbert is now battling with Colin Kaepernick to start in San Francisco, and just might pull it out.

-- Glenn Erby

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