Defensively, Pitt tackle Aaron Donald could be the surprise of the draft, going higher than most expect. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles could end up being the biggest surprise, offensively.
In his official mock draft, Peter King of TheMMQB.com puts Bortles at No. 26 to the Browns, explaining that he “couldn’t find a Bortles lover” while making calls to put together a projection of picks.
So we decided to try to figure out the potential hot spots for Bortles. Here’s what we know. Or at least what we think.
As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle previously has explained, a trade down by the Texans would be aimed at getting Johnny Manziel, Khalil Mack, or Blake Bortles. So Bortles could be a Texan before the first 10 picks are made.
Some believe that the Jaguars will strongly consider Bortles at No. 3. One league source suggested that Bortles is one of the three players the Jags have identified for their selection. (Since they pick third, it’s wise to have three.) The question for the Jaguars will be whether to pick a player at another position who can make an immediate impact with Chad Henne playing quarterback, or whether they want to roll the dice for a potential franchise quarterback.
At No. 4, the Browns of late have done a very good job of keeping their interest in Bortles under wraps. The question is whether they go quarterback with that pick or address another position.
The Vikings remain a real possibility for Bortles at No. 8, if G.M. Rick Spielman is willing to pick a quarterback three years after the disastrous Christian Ponder experiment.
Later in the round, the Cardinals at No. 20 could be an option, given whispers that Bortles reminds coach Bruce Arians of Ben Roethlisberger.
I’ve another idea for Bortles’ destination, and we’ve placed it in the final, no-trades PFT mock draft, which will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBCSN.
I didn’t start this blurb intending to end it with a blatant tease for our TV program. Does that make it any better?