In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2014 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting a different prospect each weekday leading up to the first day of the draft on May 8th.
We continue the series with a scouting report of Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.
Name: Blake Bortles
School: Central Florida
Weight: 232 pounds
Just who is Blake Bortles?
That is what fans have been asking since December when the prolific passer went from relative unknown to top prospect seemingly in the blink of an eye. Now, as we inch closer to May 8th, Bortles may not only be the first quarterback taken, but some notable analysts are predicting he may very well be the first player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
For those unfamiliar with him, Bortles is a well-built, strong arm passer who at 6-5, 232 pounds is being compared to Ben Roethlisberger but with better mobility. He can make every throw with good zip, and has excellent pocket presence remaining poised in the face of heavy pressure. When plays break down, he beats opponents with his legs, capable of picking up chunk yards in space. Bortles possesses a high football IQ and is a tireless worker always striving to be better.
Bortles is also a proven winner, boasting a 22-5 record as a starter. He is clutch when needed, as seen in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl when he led UCF to an upset victory. In that game, the passer completed 20 of 31 attempts for 301 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing eight times for 93 yards and a score. That performance capped off a sensational season in which Bortles was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year, was a first-team All-AAC selection and a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback. Overall, he completed 259 of 382 passes in 2013 for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a 163.4 passer rating.
Perhaps the biggest knock on Bortles is his relative lack of experience and the quality of opponents he’s faced. He’s only a two-year starter at Central Florida, and two of his worst games were arguably against the top talent he’s faced in Ohio State in 2012 and South Carolina in 2013. While he may need some seasoning as a rookie, many experts claim Bortles has a special makeup and could see him becoming a standout quarterback in the NFL for quite some time.
40-yard Dash: 4.93
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches
Broad Jump: 115.0 inches
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the San Diego Chargers’ front office staff, coaches or executives.