UCF Knights quarterback Blake Bortles is squarely in the “No. 1 pick” discussion, and there are several analysts who believe that the Houston Texans will take him in this year’s draft. Teddy Bridgewater is the most frequently mocked player to the Texans, and there are others who have Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel going to Bill O’Brien in their mocks. Whether or not you have Bortles as the No. 1 pick (I don’t, and I barely have him above Derek Carr as the No. 2 QB overall), it’s safe to say that he is among the “Big Four” QBs in this year’s draft class and has the tools to be a franchise QB.
The NFL Network’s Gil Brandt tweeted out today that he saw Bortles at the Super Bowl, and he included a picture that they took together. Brandt added that he has Bortles as one of his top ten prospects and believes that the UCF star is the second-best QB in this year’s draft. He has made it well-known that Manziel is his top-ranked quarterback, and he went so far as to call the Texas A&M product as “a better version” of Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton.
Bortles was compared to Ben Roethlisberger by Brandt, who added that the projected top-five pick face’s physically resembles that of Matt Leinart, which is totally accurate (seriously, look at the photo). Anyway, Bortles is often compared to a mini-Andrew Luck or Big Ben, and that’s due to Bortles’s size, strength, rushing ability, arm talent, and upside. In my opinion, there is no doubt that he has the talent to be a great QB, and I wonder if Bruce Arians would be willing to trade all the way up for a guy who reminds some of us of a poor man’s Luck/Roethlisberger hybrid. Arians, of course, coached both in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, and he would be perfect for his passing scheme, especially with some of the weapons they have in Arizona. It is a “way out there” scenario to have the Cardinals trading up for him, but I think the possibility of the Cards looking to make a big upgrade and scrap Carson Palmer can’t be completely ruled out. At the very least, it’s an interesting talking point.