The Jacksonville Jaguars have been searching for their franchise quarterback since trading away Mark Brunell to the Washington Redskins in the early 2000’s. Having invested a couple of first round picks in failed projects, the Jaguars are hoping they have found a long-term solution in Blake Bortles.
After a fairly rough rookie season, this has been an offseason full of wildly different narratives for Bortles. Some say he was the worst quarterback in the NFL last year, while others think he is underrated, and another section of analysts think Bortles is poised to make a big leap in year 2.
One of the most respected voices in quarterback analysis is ESPN’s Ron Jaworski. A former QB himself, Jaworski goes into a deep film study every year to evaluate and rank the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Generally, the Jaguars usually find their signal-caller near the bottom of the rankings. This year, the Jaguars’ second year quarterback is ranked surprisingly high at number 23. Here’s the transcription from Jaworski’s segment on Bortles that is currently running on ESPN:
"No. 23 is Blake Bortles. The more I watched Bortles this offseason, the more I liked his future. Tough in the pocket with the ability to make big-time NFL throws deep down the field. He has great size for the position and a very good arm that can drive the football. This play really stood out to me as I reviewed Bortles. It was play-action out of based personnel. With the corner’s body turned to the inside, Bortles knew he had his tight end on the crosser. He also knew he would take a shot as he delivered the football. That kind of throw is what separates NFL quarterbacks. Bortles led the biggest comeback in Jaguars history against the Giants. Bortles will be higher than No. 23 on my big board next season."
Jaworski had a very high opinion of Bortles coming out of college, ranking him as the top quarterback on his big board. Despite up-and-down play for most of the year, Jaworski has a very positive outlook for Bortles in the future. He notes that Bortles has all the traits and he flashes the type of plays that franchise quarterbacks need to pull off every once in a while. The confidence and certainty in which Jaworski states that Bortles will be higher in his rankings next year is extremely encouraging. Hopefully he’s right.
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