Bortles could be the surprise of the draft, on offense


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 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?

Probably not.

52 responses to “Bortles could be the surprise of the draft, on offense

  1. PFT has to remember, not too many people have respect for Peter King, most think hes an assclown.

  2. i dont understand why no one is talking about Tommy Rees as the top QB prospect..there hasn’t been a prospect at QB like him since Dick Butkus..a future HOFer

  3. @sdsmooth annual overreach? Who have the reached for other than Ponder? Outside of that pick Spielman’s track record in the draft has been strong esspecially in the 1st round.

  4. This is one of those drafts where none of these top guys will be as good as a guy who’s in the 3rd round or later. The name to watch?

    Tajh Boyd from Clemson.

  5. I thought the surprise was gonna be that he will fall out of the first round and make a slide.

  6. less than 32 hours now until ted thompson screws up another 1st round draft pick and the packers have to rely on fragile rodgers to get back to the super bowl! ha! pack! ha! ph, but they have jarret boykin to replace james jones, donald driver and greg jennings that’ll get them past the second round of the playoffs where they’ve been humiliated the last few years

  7. Do you recall that in 2011, Blaine Gabbbert had the same “pedigree” (widespread respect) that Bortles does going into this draft? In fact, even locally, the general thinking in Nashville sports talk was that the Titans should use the 8th overall pick on Gabbert if he was available. Thankfully, they did not. (Say what you will about Jake Locker, he’s superior to Gabbert in every facet of the game.) That said, I think Bortles’ respect is well-deserved and I expect him to pan out.

  8. PREDICTION: as we move closer to draft time, people in those draft rooms will rely on their initial evaluations.

    The SHOCK of the draft will be that Teddy Bridgewater will be the first QB drafted. For a year it was a consensus that he was the most “NFL ready”. Then came the Manziel/Bortles campaigns. The Bridgewater pro day hurt, but not enough to make a lie out of what was seen on tape.

    Clowney will go first and Bridgewater will leave the board first at QB. Bortles is a project who is not ready for the NFL. Manziel will sit in the green room for awhile.

  9. Mark my words, who ever reaches for Bortles will end up regretting it. Ive poured over tape of Blake and he really does not look like an NFL QB. His throwing motion is not a repeatable motion that will be sustained in a much faster NFL game and with that, his anticipiation and understanding of coverages is just adequate even for the college level…

  10. As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle previously has explained (to Hans Gruber): “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”

  11. I don’t see him falling past the Cardinals. Arians would love to groom him behind Palmer for a year or two.

  12. Since Aaron Donald has been considered a top-10 pick for several months now – I’m not sure how he goes “higher than most expect”

  13. Peter King confirmed his level of expertise when he viciously trashed future HOF’er Mike Holmgren for not making Marty Morninwheg head coach of the Browns and declaring Brady Quinn the starting QB.

  14. Serious question – can someone provide an example of Bridgewater throwing a pass that required a strong arm? All I see are deep rainbows and dump-offs. Am I watching the wrong game films?

  15. @sdsmooth

    Glass houses, stones, etc. Teddy’s last few picks haven’t exactly been rock stars. Baby Bulaga can’t stay healthy, Derek Sherrod isn’t having his 5th year option picked up, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, meh.

  16. too many hangups on draft position. of course the record (or trades) determine that spot,but you’re still just drafting a player…and unfortunately because of numbers,they happen to be in the first round. somebody has to be the first team to pick and if they need a QB to fill a slot,oh well. he may get snatched up before you pick again. 78 drafts and only what,16 #1 picks have won a championship or SB,and many with teams that did not originally draft them. pick who you want or need and forget about the experts on TV,radio and the internet. That’s why theyre there and not GMing a team.

  17. Disastrous Christian Ponder experiment? How dare you!?! He hasn’t had enough time! Rick Spielman drafts nothing but probowlers and MVPs, which–let’s face it–is waaaay more important than drafting winners. Anyway, even if it was disastrous, please don’t bring it up. The offseason is the when Vikes fans claim Super Bowl victories. It’s the only time of year they can.


  18. Someone should keep track of all these predictions by the so-called experts and draft pundits and re-evaluate players after a couple years and see who’s consistently the most right.

  19. My sources tell me if the Vikings do not trade back, they are all in on defense with the 8 pick, and will likely trade back up between 18-25 to pick a QB (Bortles or Carr if either one is there).

  20. mnrunleft says:
    May 7, 2014 10:48 AM
    @sdsmooth annual overreach? Who have the reached for other than Ponder? Outside of that pick Spielman’s track record in the draft has been strong esspecially in the 1st round.

    As evidenced by one winning season since 2010…

    “strong” is not the word I would use.

  21. “Bortles is the PERFECT candidate for the annual Vikings over-reach in the first round.”


    over-reach. hm.

    oh you mean like Adrian Peterson? hm, wait. that doesn’t work. maybe you meant like Chad Greenway? nope. Percy Harvin? nope, still not a reach. perhaps you meant “a portion of Jared Allen” (trade), one of the greatest pass rushers in team history. Harrison Smith, one of the best young safeties in the game?

    or perhaps you meant Cordarrelle Patterson, who was an All-Pro as a rookie.

    yep, lots of reaches. and by “lots”, i mean “one”. it’s just Ponder.

  22. Franchise Qbs don’t come around every year. Bortles is a developmental QB who should go in the second or third round. Gabbert was a much better college QB than him.

    The media for some reason loves hyping QBs. They had Geno Smith in the top ten last year. How’d that work out?

  23. mnrunleft says:
    May 7, 2014 10:48 AM
    @sdsmooth annual overreach? Who have the reached for other than Ponder? Outside of that pick Spielman’s track record in the draft has been strong esspecially in the 1st round.

    I think he’s been with MN for 9yrs. (Maybe back to the 2005 draft?).

    2005 Top 3 rounds:
    Troy Williamson
    Erasmus James
    Marcus Johnson
    Dustin Fox

    Chad Greenway
    Cedric Griffin
    Ryan Cook
    Tarvaris Jackson

    Sidney Rice
    Marcus McCauley

    Tyrell Johnson

    Percy Harvin
    Phil Loadholt
    Asher Allen

    Chris Cook
    Toby Gearhart

    Christian Ponder
    Kyle Rudolph

    Matt Kalil
    Harrison Smith
    Josh Robinson

    Sharrif Floyd
    Xavier Rhodes
    Cordarrelle Patterson

    That’s a lot of 1st rounders, 3 top 10s, and some very good players but GMs make their money later in the draft. Go look at the 4th and later round picks MN has made in that time and you will find probably only 5 good players, and one of them is a kicker.

    That’s the problem.

  24. Who is the idiot that told Peter King that a skunk strip haircut actually looks good on middle aged men? Can someone please fix that?

  25. Strange title for the article when it leads with Peter King’s prediction that Donald will go higher and Bortles will go 26th.

    So is 26th higher? Doesn’t seem like it. If it’s lower, then it’s a poorly worded piece.

  26. Bortles will be the 4th QB taken in the draft.

    Manziel will be taken for his panache.

    Bridgewater for his poise.

    Carr for his arm.

    Bortles… is a tweener.

    Bridgewater will be the best of the bunch.

  27. “2005 Top 3 rounds:
    Troy Williamson
    Erasmus James
    Marcus Johnson
    Dustin Fox”


    he wasn’t there in 2005. might want to do some research before you try to make a point. and the original poster was talking about FIRST ROUND busts, anyway.

    so…. you’ve failed. miserably.

  28. Bortles was a decent QB in college. I watched a few of his games and I didn’t see anything that called out “1st rounder”, but that’s just me.

    2nd round, ok sure.

    I really think that whomever gets Aaron Murray is going to get the steal of the draft (he’s projecting 3rd or 4th round). This is coming from a South Carolina fan by the way. If he didn’t get injured, we would be talking about him in the same company as Bortles, Manziel and Carr for sure.

  29. You’d have to be nuts to take a QB from 1-20 this year. Just look at the last few successful QBs, Luck had zero question marks, Wilson a 3rd rounder, Kaepernick (debatable) 2nd round pick, Foles (debatable) 2nd round pick, Dalton (debateable) 2nd round pick. You have to go back to Flacco and Ryan to find elite talent in the first round before Luck. Investing a first round pick in a non blue chip prospect is just plain stupid.

    Thus I think teams will not be selecting any of these qbs until the end of the first round. Stick with the non-QB’s until round 2.

  30. This one article has him going anywhere from 3rd to 26th. Is he going to be a surprise because he goes lower than expected or higher?

  31. As could be Santa Claus or Superman.
    Quit already, the media has beat these dead horses until the bones are just dust!
    A prospect is a step up down from a practice squad player. They get way too much attention which feeds their ego and leads some to, get in legal trouble. DUI, Shoplifting, assaults, etc..
    Fans forget that they are just people with “job” training in a game – a GAME they started playing as little kids.
    College is supposed be their training for an adult “job” which these prospects, and media, have forgotten.

  32. In Ponder’s defense, outside of Favre’s first year, every QB has looked pretty bad in the Vikings “built to run the ball” offense.

    Vikes need a QB who can hang in the pocket, buy a little time, and deliver a strong and accurate downfield pass. I’m not sure which QB’s will be available to them or which ones can do this, but Bortles seems to have the size and grit for that type of offense.

  33. Vikings have all this talent (According to their fans)… Pro Bowlers.. Hall of Famers, but they still pick in the top 15 every year…mmmm. Go figure.
    If the Viking fans actually believe this, then I think they’ll draft a punter at the #8 spot, cause they don’t have a Kluwe…

  34. The Vikings need to lay off the QBs in round one. There isn’t one in this draft worth the eighth overall pick. If they trade down into the second half of the first round, maybe.

    Truth is, the Vikings would be better off waiting until round two, and choosing between plenty of possibilities there. And then, they need to pick another guy late on day three; guys like Tajh Boyd and Connor Shaw will be available then, and would be worth a look.

    But expecting to land a franchise QB in this draft would be a huge mistake, and if Spielman reaches for one again which doesn’t pan out, he’ll be back working on television.

  35. I think the teams with the first 20 picks should take full advantage of Clowney and all the great quarterbacks available this year. Yup, Quarterbacks and defensive ends, get em while they’re hot – Picks 1-20. Wouldnt even look at safeties, receivers. centers or big block consuming defensive linemen until the 6th or 7th rounds.

  36. Why anybody puts any credence into what Peter King says is beyond me. The only person in all of pro football that is dumber just happens to be GM of the Vikings.

    So if the stars align, Spielman will reach for Bortles at #8 overall and make King look like he knows what he is talking about and the Viking fans will suffer the consequences for years to come.

  37. For what it’s worth, my opinion is to stand pat at #8. There are 7 teams picking ahead of Minnesota that may be there because of a history of poor draft decisions. Pick the strongest immediate impact player at number 8. If a trade offer is made that allows more picks in the first 3 rounds jump on it. Don’t get cute and sacrifice quantity for quality. The QB position is interesting. In retrospect Ponder never had the potential to succeed in the NFL. Even if he had been coached to make better decisions, mediocre arm strength poor accuracy on anything beyond 10-yards would have led to failure. The 2014 crop appears to have 4 QBs that eventually could develop into solid starters in the right situation.
    Additionally, there is a second tier that might turn out a few pleasant surprises. The talent seems to be there in this draft for the teams that can successfully navigate through the field and separate the hype from the potential.

  38. Let’s look at teams that need a QB:

    #1 Houston (willing to wait until round 2)
    #3 Jacksonville
    #4 Cleveland
    #7 Tampa Bay
    #8 vikings
    #11 Tennessee

    plus the late picking teams looking for a developmental guy like Denver, who are willing to wait and see what falls to them.

    Teams drafting #’s 7, 8, and 11 have a huge incentive to trade with the Rams at #2 and get ahead of teams drafting #3 and #4. The Rams may have a bidding war for their pick.

    If 2 QB’s go before the Falcons pick at #6, without the above trade with the Rams, then the Falcons could profit nicely from the Buccaneers and vikings trying to get ahead of the other because neither of them can wait until the 2nd round for a QB.

    The pressure is really on for Tampa Bay and the vikings to make a deal and outbid the other.

    The vikings must deal with the Rams to ensure they get Bridgewater.

  39. If the Vikings don’t take Aaron Murray in the third round , they deserve whatever they get.

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