The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, which means NFL pundits are going crazy seeking scoops and insider information. The Cleveland Browns have been at the top of the list when it comes to the NFL Draft guessing game. While it’s certain that the Browns will select a quarterback with one of their two first-round choices, the questions is “who”. One possibility at the No. 4 spot is UCF quarterback Blake Bortles.
Bortles, a redshirt junior, led his UCF Knights to a stellar season which saw them defeat a high-powered Baylor offense. When breaking down Bortles from a scout’s perspective, he possesses prototypical size for an NFL quarterback with a 6-foot-5, 232-pound frame. They also praise his ability to stand strong in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield. However, the knock on Bortles is that his arm strength is nothing superior and that he goes into a windup motion when he throws it deep. It’s agreed that with the proper coaching he should be able to fix some of his mechanics, but does he have the makeup and intangibles to become a star in the league?
To put it nicely, the Browns have lacked a franchise QB for year, and with so many options in this year’s draft, Cleveland has a good chance of selecting its franchise quarterback. Young veteran Brian Hoyer is thought to be the starter for the Browns heading into 2014, but with so many weapons at the skill positions for the Browns, he could be on a short leash. Cleveland boasts a strong group of receivers including Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, so whoever is behind center won’t need to do it all.
If Bortles is selected by Cleveland, he will get a shot to be the starter in Week 1. If he does wind up being drafted by the Browns and would happen to play his rookie season, Bortles will have the necessary tools to succeed as long as he doesn’t try to do too much. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan‘s offense will benefit inexperienced quarterbacks in that they aren’t heavily relied on to make plays. The offense is balanced, taking pressure of the QB, and its built around getting the ball into the hands of the team’s playmakers. There is also the possibility of the big play downfield, which will undoubtedly be the test for Cleveland’s quarterback.
It’s very possible that Bortles ends up in Cleveland, and it seems that he would be entering into an ideal situation where he will have the chance to prove himself and learn along with the other quarterbacks on the roster. The Browns would be getting a quarterback who handles pressure well, has the tools to become a franchise QB and would be a fit in their new offense. Bortles has the potential to be “the guy” in Cleveland, but what route the Browns choose to take won’t be answered until pick No. 4 on May 8.