Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles is currently the fastest-rising prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, but just how high could the relatively unknown signal-caller rise? Well, according to ESPN’s Todd McShay, right now he could go as high as No. 3 in the 2014 NFL Draft and be the second quarterback taken.
At 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, Bortles has great size, a strong arm and is accurate. While he is mobile, he has proven he can live in the pocket and make things happen from there as well. He’s big and mobile but won’t be the kind of guy who will bail on plays if they don’t go as planned. He has an outstanding football IQ and is a high-character kid.
As a redshirt junior this season, Bortles has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,280 yards, with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He added 179 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Last year, Bortles completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 3,059 yards, with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He did more on the ground as a sophomore, rushing for 285 yards and eight scores.
Bortles was the 2013 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, has led the Knights to an 11-1 record and they are headed to the 2014 Fiesta Bowl where they will face Baylor.
From watching tape and scouting Bortles, he certainly looks the part of an NFL quarterback, but he hasn’t faced top-level competition consistently and I’m not sure if I trust him to start in the league next season. His meteoric rise up draft boards actually reminds me of how Blaine Gabbert rose before the 2011 draft.
Bortles has yet to make a decision on whether he’ll enter the draft this year, but at this point it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll make the jump.
McShay currently has Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as the No. 1 overall pick, with Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel also going in the first round. That makes four first-round signal-callers in this year’s draft, which appears loaded at the quarterback position.
Bortles’ rise means he could be solidly in the mix as the top player taken overall, though it looks like Bridgewater is the consensus top guy right now.