Bortles could be climbing up the board


The quarterback with a name that sounds like a character in a Harry Potter book continues to position himself for success when it’s time to fire up the NFL’s version of the Sorting Hat.

(Is it all that dorky to know about the Sorting Hat?  I mean, cool people know about the Sorting Hat, too, right?)

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 301 yards, rushed for 93, and accounted for four touchdowns in a 52-42 win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.  Throughout the game, Twitter was atwitter with members of the media pointing out that new Texans coach Bill O’Brien has said good things about Bortles, especially after Bortles brought UCF to Penn State and beat O’Brien’s team during the 2013 college football season.  Others pointed out that one of O’Brien’s mentors is UCF coach George O’Leary — which is far more reliable when coming from Twitter than when coming from O’Leary’s résumé.

Bortles has yet to declare for the 2014 draft.  While it’s unlikely that he’ll be regarded as good enough to acquire with the first overall pick, the Texans could choose to trade down with a team like the Falcons at No. 6, which may decide to make a play for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Of course, Bortles then would have to slide past the Jaguars at No. 3, the Browns at No. 4, and the Raiders at No. 5 before O’Brien could put Bortles’ name on a draft card.  Big performances on the biggest stages in college football tend to boost a quarterback’s draft stock, giving scouts comfort that a guy won’t gack under pressure.

If the Texans decide the want to be in the Blake Bortles business, the challenge will be to not gack when it comes to fashioning a draft strategy.