Comparing the 2015 offseason for Blake Bortles to any offseason with Blaine Gabbert is a stark example of just how much more invested general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are in their young quarterback.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are all in on quarterback Blake Bortles just one season after drafting him third overall. He is the player they wanted and they shocked the 2014 draft by taking him so early. He was expected to sit and learn for a year but was thrust into the starting line up after Chad Henne failed to ignite the offense. So we saw lackluster play during a rookie season when he wasn’t expected to be out on the field.
What we’re seeing this offseason is probably exactly what we would have seen whether Blake Bortles was on the field or not in 2014: a build up of the offensive talent at all positions.
The Jaguars have added running back Bernard Pierce, TD-producing tight end Julius Thomas, and right tackle Jermey Parnell to the mix. They knew all three of those positions were weak last season and needed to bolster them for Bortles to have a chance.
With the 2015 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, expect the Jaguars to snag a few more players to help Bortles. The team is still looking to add another receiver and it seems possible that running back will be targeted in the earlier rounds. The team is making sure that Bortles has players around him to be successful in his second year. This is supposed to be the year he steps onto the field and finds success. These weapons are supposed to be in place for the young quarterback to come out and take the NFL by storm.
This Jaguars offseason is an offseason to remember for the franchise. It is marking a point when the general manager and head coach rallied behind a quarterback they really wanted and got him the players that he needed. Even the best quarterbacks have good and great players around them. Now Bortles has some too.
2015 will be the first season indicating whether taking him third overall was a home run or not. He won’t have many excuses to hide behind if it isn’t.
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