Blake Bortles in bottom tier of QBs according to ESPN rankings


It’s not surprising that Blake Bortles has been a frequent topic in discussions this offseason here at Black and Teal – the quarterback is by far the most important position on the field. Recently, we’ve gone in depth and profiled Bortles as a player and we have also talked about Bortles’ placement in this year’s Ron Jaworski QB rankings. Overall, there’s been a spectrum of opinion on Bortles this offseason, and no one really knows just how much he’s going to improve in year 2.

Well there’s yet another quarterback ranking to talk about, as ESPN recently came out with their quarterback “tiers.” In this exercise, ESPN reaches out to coaches and evaluators and asks them to rank all the starting quarterback into 5 tiers (1 being the best and 5 being the worst). Bortles ended up in the fourth tier, which is the worst tier in this particular ranking since the fifth tier is reserved for historically awful quarterback play (see: Blaine Gabbert). The fourth tier designates Bortles as the following: ” unproven starters or those who might not be expected to last in the lineup all season.”

Here’s the write-up on Bortles from the piece (ESPN Insider required):

"27. Blake Bortles | Jacksonville Jaguars"

"Average rating: 3.83 | Change in rating: N/A"

"2014 Rank: N/ABortles played sooner than anticipated and got very little support, making it tougher to evaluate him fairly. Voters were not particularly critical of Bortles, but that doesn’t mean they were optimistic, either.“I’m not feeling it,” one offensive coach said, offering faint praise by calling Bortles an “ascending 4.”Bortles ranked 28th in completion rate last season (58.9 percent), despite completing 65 screens in 73 attempts. Only Cutler attempted more screen passes last season.”I did not like how he threw the ball. He looked lost,” an opposing head coach said.A personnel director was among several voters who said they questioned Bortles’ accuracy coming out of college.“For the beating he was taking, he was pretty poised about it,” this director said. “It will be interesting to see how the new coordinator helps him. I do not think they helped him at all last year. One of the hardest things when you take a quarterback is getting your staff, especially your playcaller and head coach, to determine how they’re going to make him successful and then sticking to it.”"

The snippets in the article don’t inspire a lot of confidence. The writer of the piece (Mike Sando) apparently couldn’t find some positive quotes about Bortles or decided to skew his assessment in a more negative direction. Either way, the insinuation is that Bortles’ arrow isn’t necessarily pointing up. Thankfully, the evaluation of “I’m not feeling it” by one coach isn’t exactly the most thorough analysis and provides zero evidence that Bortles won’t improve in year 2.

The other interesting part of the piece is the placement of the other 2014 QBs. Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater were both placed in tier 3, with Carr once again inexplicably ranked ahead of Teddy. That alone gives me hesitation in taking these rankings seriously.

At the end of the day, these aren’t too important, but it’s interesting to see where a small group of NFL personnel evaluators have these QBs ranked.

Next: Bortles 23rd according to Jaws

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