Blake Bortles wants to be in top pick conversation

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Johnny Manziel might have gotten more attention earlier in the day, but Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles wants in on the talk about being the first overall pick.

Bortles didn’t draw the same kind of crowd in the media room that Manziel did at the same podium earlier Friday, but said he wants to go through all the drills here at the Scouting Combine to prove that he belongs in the conversation.

“I don’t think that’s up for me to decide,” he said of going first overall. “But I’m going to come here and do everything I can to make sure that when I leave there’s other people saying that besides me. That’s the goal, the goal is to be the top quarterback prospect. That’s why I left college early, that’s why I came out, was to be the top quarterback prospect, and I believe I can do that.”

While highly drafted quarterbacks are rarely given time to develop slowly (because they’re drafted by teams who were so bad as to need immediate help), Bortles said he didn’t have a problem with the notion that he needed time to grow into the job.

“I have no problem with that,” he said. “There’s no doubt I need coaching, I need help. I think everybody in the game does. There’s reasons why all these greats out there are continuing to play and continuing to work in the offseason and get coached— 100 percent, I need coaching, I need help and I’m going
to work my butt off to do everything I can to be the best that I can be to help a team be the best that they can be.”

He stands out in this group for several reasons, partly because of his size. While the size of Manziel has been a big topic, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Bortles has shown the tools that could allow him to flourish if he finds the right fit.