At this point, the stock of UCF quarterback Blake Bortles couldn’t get much higher.
Bortles joins a 2014 quarterback class that recently took its fair share of hits. Marcus Mariota, who was considered by some to be the top eligible passer, opted to return to Oregon for his junior season. Seniors Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger recently suffered ACL tears that will hurt their draft stocks well as teams’ ability to fully analyze their abilities. Even UCLA gunslinger Brett Hundley, a potential first-round pick, decided to stay in school.
Now that Bortles will be available in May’s draft, there’s plenty of reason to believe he could come off the board early in the first round.
Bortles was a huge factor in UCF’s rise to relevance this season, helping them finish the year with a 12-1 record capped by an upset victory over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Using his outstanding arm, underrated athleticism and impeccable accuracy, Bortles has quickly caught the attention of NFL scouts around the nation. Despite some mistakes in the win over Baylor, Bortles’ draft stock can’t go much higher.
Now headed for the NFL, Bortles has a terrific opportunity to come off the board in the Top 5 of the 2014 NFL Draft. While it’s unlikely he overcomes Teddy Bridgewater as this year’s top quarterback, he might have already leap-frogged Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr for the No. 2 ranking.
With his stock at an all-time high, Bortles is making the smart move going pro. Expect the Golden Knights’ stud quarterback to impress even more during pre-draft activities and hear his name called early on May 8.