Leading up to the 2014 NFL entry draft, all of the quarterback focus was on Johnny “Football” Manziel. Manziel was thought by many to be the number one overall prospect, and he was expected to get drafted and immediately play as a starter in 2014. After Manziel, the next most hyped quarterback was QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater was fantastic in college, and many even had him ranked above Manziel in pre-draft rankings. From these rankings, the NFL draft looked as though Manziel would be drafted first, unless Bridgewater pulled off the upset. Oddly enough, neither of these scenarios happened.
With the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL entry draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected QB Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida. This pick was very shocking to many, and several people thought that the Jaguars had made a huge mistake. Going into 2014, Bortles will need to prove that he was worth the first quarterback pick in the draft, and he can do just that.
The Jaguars drafted Bortles to be a starter; however doesn’t need to rush. Plenty of good quarterbacks have sat on the bench for a few years to learn a few things. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, and others all started on the bench, and it really helped their career. Right now, Jacksonville is in a heavily rebuilding phase. After the offseason loss of RB MJD, the offense in Jacksonville will look very different. Before, the game plan was to put the ball in the hands of MJD, and hope for the best. This worked for a while, but Jacksonville never really found any major success from this. By drafting Bortles, the Jags have solidified their quarterback role for the next several years.
Right now, the NFL is moving away from the read option offense and mobile quarterbacks are on their way out. Look at RGIII. This is the perfect example of a quarterback who does not know how to play well in the pocket, and because of this and the aggressiveness of defensive ends, it will be very hard for him to find success. By choosing Bortles, the Jags showed that they know where the NFL is heading. Sure, Bortles may have been the third or fourth ranked quarterback in the entire draft, but he was the best and most polished pocket passer available.
In the pocket, Bortles is very comparable to Alex Smith. He is smart, he can read plays, and he can make the clutch throws that he needs to succeed. That is all the team needs. They need a younger player who can be consistent in the pocket and give his team a fighting chance every game. This is what Bortles will provide. Mobile quarterbacks like Manziel are too risky to play in the big league, and because of this, the Jags chose the player that could provide for them for years. He really can prove himself to be the best.
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