Grading the Jacksonville Jaguars' First-Round Selection of Blake Bortles

By Michael LeDuc
Blake Bortles
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With the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars made a huge splash by taking quarterback Blake Bortles. The University of Central Florida product was the best QB in this year’s draft class, a statement that can be backed up by being the first QB taken in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Jaguars made an excellent choice and have their guy for the future.

Instead of taking intriguing, talented prospects such as linebacker Khalil Mack, ticket seller Johnny Manziel or wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the Jaguars decided to take The American Athletic Offensive Player of the Year who enamored Jacksonville with his competitiveness and drive to win.

Bortles has terrific size for his position. At 6-foot-5 and 232-pounds, he has a perfect NFL build. His pocket presence is extremely impressive, and he is able to sense pressure and move quickly in-and-out of the pocket to avoid being hit. He has the ability to pick up chunks of yards with his legs.

The 22-year-old is poised and accurate under pressure, with good arm strength and a quick release. His toughness and competitiveness is what really stands out about Bortles. He’s a winner with a plethora of potential. Many scouts have gone out of their way to compare him to Andrew Luck.

The First-Team All-American athlete does, however, make risky throws that lead to interceptions. His deep-throw accuracy needs a work, and he tends to fall away from his target instead of stepping towards them. Nonetheless, he has a high ceiling and time to develop and refine his skills.

Bortles will not be plugged in at the helm right away. Jacksonville’s general manager David Caldwell said Chad Henne would remain the starter in 2014, so Bortles will have year to develop without any added pressure. Nonetheless, Bortles could very well beat the non-spectacular Henne for the starting QB position.

Overall, the Jaguars’ selection of Bortles deserves a solid A. They desperately need a leader and competitor. Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, and Bortles has the ability to lead this team for many years to come. It is crucial for teams to have the guy they want leading their offense. Bortles has a chance to be the starter this year and will enjoy much success in the future. The Jaguars’ QB situation may be better than ever; now get him some targets to throw to.

Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.

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