In what came as a bit of a surprise on Tuesday, NFL Draft insider Tony Pauline reported that Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles will throw at the NFL’s scouting combine. Typically the top group of quarterbacks all sit out the throwing portion of the combine, but Bortles is clearly confident he can wow scouts with his arm.
Bortles is almost universally regarded as one of the top three quarterbacks eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel are the other two signal-callers likely to be selected within the top 10 picks as things stand right now. Bortles is largely considered the most physically gifted of the three.
The fact that the UCF product is so highly regarded and will be throwing at the combine is a bit shocking. But when you consider that he didn’t get on the radar of some scouts until the middle of this past season, maybe it is a good decision. It’s a chance for him to show off, while Bridgewater and Manziel wait for their pro days.
The 6-4, 230-pound Bortles put together an outstanding season as a junior in 2013. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,581 yards, with 25 touchdowns and and nine interceptions. He also added 272 yards and six touchdowns on 87 rushes.
Bortles possesses prototypical size and speed for the position, with big hands and an athletic frame. He’s durable, can take a hit, and his intangibles get off-the-charts reviews.
He is an accurate passer and can make all the throws, but his delivery is a bit long and will likely need to be shortened a tad by whichever team selects him.
What separates Bortles from typical quarterbacks of his size and frame is the fact that he is incredibly mobile. The guy can move, but he’ll only do so when necessary. So he’s not going to bail out of a play in the middle of his reads. He’ll only take off if he spots a clear advantage in doing so.
Bortles has good arm strength but he doesn’t have a rocket on his shoulder. Some are down on his arm but other than seeing a few balls flutter late in their flight, I think he’s got enough of a fastball to do what he’ll need to do.
Bortles’ showing at the combine will be key for him. If he blows scouts away he’ll certainly be in the discussion for the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall pick.