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The 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has come and gone. The Jaguars did not trade down. They didn’t take the top WR Sammy Watkins. They didn’t take Khalil Mack. Instead, Dave Caldwell and company pulled the trigger on a quarterback. Rumors were flying around all day about how Johnny Manziel could be the choice for the Jags; he wasn’t. Well then surely it must have been Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, right? Nope, not him either. Instead, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the world by taking former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles.
I’ll be honest: when this pick was announced, I wasn’t overly thrilled. Bortles was my third ranked quarterback, and when he was picked my top two guys were still available, as was Sammy Watkins. So for the Jaguars to not take one of those players, and then to not trade down came as a surprise to me.
But then I let the moment settle. I remembered that Dave Caldwell knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do. And I also remembered that the Jaguars have been saying they would like to bring a quarterback along slowly. I then realized that Bortles could be the perfect selection here.
Bortles has been ranked as the top quarterback by many analysts and scouts, due to his prototypical size and his potential upside. There was a period of time where popular sentiment was that Bortles could be going first overall to Houston. I think the reason this pick stings so much for some fans is some of the talk around Bortles sounds a lot like a former quarterback that the Jaguars previously drafted.
I don’t think Bortles is Gabbert. I don’t think it’s really even close. Bortles does not struggle with pocket pressure, and that by itself is enough to completely separate the two. Bortles brings a lot of nice attributes to the table. He has great size obviously, and he actually moves pretty well for someone of his stature. His arm isn’t the best in the world, but he can make all the throws. One of the things I like most about Bortles is that there isn’t a single attribute that I hate about him. There are definitely some things I’d like to see him improve on, like overall accuracy, but for the most part Bortles is at least on par in each category.
Obviously, I would have preferred Manziel or Bridgewater. But if taking Bortles and letting him learn behind Chad Henne means that he will be the best quarterback of this class in a few years, I am more than fine with that. Welcome to Duval, Blake.