Blake Bortles: Just Hype or the Real Deal?

It's actually pretty interesting. I didn't decide to take a look at Blake Bortles due to the possibility that the Jets may draft him (though if he is available at #18, it would not even be remotely all that surprising if they did) but rather because he's started to get buzz for possibly going #1 overall in the draft. So in reality, this post has nothing to do with Jets and everything to do with the fact that I have a healthy dose of skepticism as to whether Bortles has what it takes to go #1. Call this a draft junky post.

Either way, the buzz for Bortles has certainly been growing. A few months ago you may have first heard his name as a guy who was probably undervalued due to his smaller school upbringing (he plays for UCF) and as a decent option for maybe a 2nd round pick or so. He was viewed probably as a rich man's Jimmy Garappolo. Then he started getting 1st round buzz.....then he started getting upper half of 1st round buzz......then he started getting top 5-10 buzz.....and now, here we are with talk about how the Texans are possibly thinking of drafting Bortles or Manziel first overall. How did we get to this point? Frankly, I have no idea. Here are some highlight videos from this past season, which I would assume are ones that would show off all his strengths while trying to hide his weaknesses. They are, after all, "highlight" videos. Instead, I came away far from impressed.

2013 Regular Season Blake Bortles Highlights, AAC Offensive Player of the Year (via brahmanknight)

Blake Bortles "Monster" 2013 Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)


Good Size

Good Mobility for His Size

Good Footwork

Nice Touch


Very Little Zip or Velocity

Not a Great Deep Ball

Iffy Spiral

Weird Throwing Motion

Meh Accuracy


What strikes you first is Bortles weird throwing motion. The guy almost seems to be like a baseball pitcher with his windup rather than a Quarterback. It's not exactly a Tebowesque problem, but he probably needs some work done over there.

This was not the biggest problem I had though. I was absolutely stunned by his complete lack of zip (I honestly think Mark Sanchez has a better arm than this guy). He maybe has a couple of balls that he throws hard at all, and those seem to be only when he has no pressure and can do a full blown windup. The percentage of throws he just floats in are really really high. Additionally, his accuracy isn't all that great and his spiral isn't particularly good. Keep in mind that this is a highlight video, so they're not exactly showing you his off the mark throws, and yet a lot of his completions were either underthrown (deep balls) or thrown behind receivers. I will say that his touch is good (sort of a back handed compliment I guess for knocking his zip) and his footwork seems to be good but he has tons and tons of stuff to work on.

What I see here is much more of a developmental guy with lots of possible issues than a #1 pick. I figured that if a #1 pick was from a smaller school, it would be a guy who seems to athletically have everything working in his favor and he just may need polish. This guy very much seems to need the polish and I don't even think has the great athletic traits (arm strength). Furthermore, while UCF did play some decent teams, it's not like he was lighting up the SEC every week. I frankly am not even sure I'd want Bortles in the 1st round, much less #1 overall.

I will say this, I am by no means a guy who is overly excellent at analyzing tape, so if someone sees something far different from what I'm seeing, please tell me so. I just don't get what the big fuss is with this guy. To me, he is all hype, not the real deal.

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