May 9, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley poses with Blake Bortles (Central Florida) and Jaguars general managerDavid Caldwell
after addressing the media at the Upper West Touchdown Club at EverBank Field a day after being selected as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Number 1. Blake Bortles
Am I a prisoner of the moment? You bet I am.
It might seem premature to anoint Bortles as the best quarterback in franchise history, but I don’t care. No one who has worn a Jaguars uniform has ever done the things Bortles has been doing this season.
We saw some of the potential in his rookie year – some spectacular improvisational plays sandwiched between mistakes and poor mechanics. Some questioned whether or not Bortles could develop after having a rough first year, but he’s turned it around in a historic way in 2015.
Here are Bortles numbers through 12 games compared to Brunell’s best season in 1997:
[table id=58 /]
Through 12 games, Bortles has already shattered Brunell’s career best in touchdown passes and he’s on pace to exceed his yardage totals from 1997 by a staggering margin.
Context is important too – this current iteration of the Jaguars is asking Bortles to do a lot more and shoulder more of the offense than the Tom Coughlin led-team ever asked of Brunell. The Jaguars have only won 4 games as of the publishing of this article and Bortles needed to put together a 4th quarter drive to win all of them.
Yes, part of this ranking is projection and that’s a risky proposition, but it’s pretty clear that, barring some type of injury, Bortles is going to eventually be the franchise leader in every major statistical quarterback category.
Now it’s on Bortles to make sure I don’t look stupid for putting him up here at the top. No pressure.