Tuesday, March 4, 2014

College Football-NFL Comparisons: Blake Bortles

        Some are saying Bortles will now go second overall, if the Browns trade up for the pick. Houston is another likely suitor, and with all the permutations there are even mock drafts where he goes first overall. This is a quarterback coming off one hell of a season, in which he took a mid major (read: mediocre) program to a BCS bowl game, and there stunned the 5 ranked Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta bowl. A great end to a great career for Bortles, and since then (and really the whole stellar season he had, with well north of 3,500 passing yards) everyone has realized that he may well become pretty important pretty quickly in the NFL. That said, a comparison I recently saw drawn with Andrew Luck is one of the silliest symptoms of draft hype I have seen in recent memory. Blake Bortles does not have the athleticism (a 4.93 40, vs a 4.6 from Luck), passing ability, composure in the pocket, or big game experience of Andrew Luck. That list could easily go on for a paragraph. Of course, Luck sets a shockingly high bar, as he has already proved to be a Pro-Bowl caliber player at his age. Luck played on a vastly superior team outside of Palo Alto and simply had much more to his résumé going into the draft. He may be an all time great; That can't be said at all about Bortles.

        A much more reasonable comparison to make would be with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. This is generous, certainly, but both players are slow, fairly accurate, and struggle with the long ball. Ryan wins games, and Bortles has proven he can do that, even on a team like UCF. Game management matters, and that I am happy to give to Bortles. Both quarterbacks excel in the quick, short game, and are just athletic enough to occasionally extend plays with their feet, but surprise everyone when they do so. In sum Bortles is a good player, in fact he may have won the best quarterback of the draft status, but most have rightly pointed out that we can by no means call him elite. He will go very high in the draft, and likely have a solid career as a starter in the NFL. Wherever he goes, he will almost definitely be starting as soon as he arrives, so we don't have long to wait to see how a good college season (and player) translates into the NFL.

(His girlfriend, I will give elite status. A ludicrous amount of hits on google.)

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