The Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the entire draft audience and Radio City Music Hall by selecting Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick. Bortles was expected to go high in the draft, but the consensus was that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel would be the first signal caller to be taken off the board. Jacksonville was very high on Bortles, and they believe that he has what it takes to be a Ben Roethlisberger type of quarterback in the future.
Bortles put up solid numbers last season with the Central Florida Knights, compiling 3,581 yards to go along with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those numbers may not be the most amazing statistics out there, but he was able to lead his team to a 12-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. There is no denying his poise as a quarterback and his leadership ability, which are two key factors when talking about a franchise quarterback.
At 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, Bortles has been compared to Roethlisberger. He is going to be a very difficult player to bring down for any opposing defender, and he has the mobility to make some plays with his legs when needed. His work ethic has been very well documented, and he improved his footwork and accuracy in a major way last year.
There are some concerns about Bortles, especially surrounding his arm strength. He doesn’t have too strong of an arm, but that is something that he can work on and improve. If there is one thing that an NFL quarterback has to have, it’s arm strength to make plays against the most athletic defenses in the game. Outside of that, there really aren’t too many concerns, outside of him playing against some lesser competition in college.
Overall, the Jaguars and their fans have every right to be excited about Bortles joining the team. He is a smart player with a great attitude, and he is ready to get things underway and embrace the pressure of being an NFL quarterback. The Jaguars desperately needed to get a quarterback, and hopefully they have the guy that will be starting long-term for them.
Blake Bortles Draft Grade: A-