My rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft continues as I examine the Jacksonville Jaguars who hold the #3 pick in the first round.
The Pick: Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
Anytime a player comes out of a smaller program he’s going to have questions about how legitimate his production is. However, Central Florida is not a pushover program, having produced outstanding talent in the past like Brandon Marshall. Blake Bortles is no joke. At 6’5″, 230 lbs he has the ideal body for the NFL, a good arm, decent accuracy, deceptive mobility and by all accounts a keen head on his shoulders. The comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger are generous but warranted.
Why: Blaine Gabbert experiment is over and Gus Bradley needs QB
Is it really hard to see why? Jacksonville has been stuck in quarterback purgatory for the past half decade thanks in large part to their woeful miscalculation on Blaine Gabbert, a first round pick in 2011. Since then the position has been a constant nightmare, keeping the Jaguars in the bottom half of the league in most offensive categories. Gus Bradley is a defensive coach but history shows those like him can’t succeed without a quarterback. His mentor Pete Carroll is a perfect example, having not become a winner in the pros until he found Russell Wilson.
Argument: Khalil Mack and Johnny Manziel may offer more
Bortles has the physical measurement to be sure but it’s fair to ask whether he’s the best on the board or even the best quarterback available at #3. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack is getting a ton of hype of late thanks to his remarkable versatility that includes rushing the passer. Jacksonville needs such a player badly to take their defense to the next level. Then there is the argument of Johnny Manziel. While not as big or tall as Bortles, the Texas A&M star is a prove playmaker against the best competition. He’s also charismatic, confident and ridiculously competitive which is why he does so well. Such a name and personality could really help the franchise.
Counter-argument: Bortles has complete repertoire and clutch genes
Certainly it is a valid point but the facts remain that in terms of proven NFL draft doctrine, Bortles has the better upside. Not only is he built better for the pros, he also displays that elusive clutch factor that teams look for carefully in every quarterback. His ability to elevate his performance late in games appeared more than once in 2013. Coupled with his physical potential it’s hard to argue against him doing so much for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That is why I would take Blake Bortles if I were in charge. What are your thoughts?