Jaguars have loved Bortles since last year, but kept it quiet


The Jaguars shocked everyone when they chose Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But in Jacksonville, that was the plan all along.

Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell said on Mike & Mike that he fell in love with Bortles during the 2013 college football season and has thought for several months that Bortles would be the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback. But Caldwell kept it quiet.

“This process started early on,” Caldwell said. “The quarterback process went early on in the fall last year and he was a guy that I always felt really strongly about, but I never let my intentions known. I let the process play out, and once our coaches got a hold of all the evaluations of our personnel staff, he became the consensus No. 1, without me influencing anybody. It became very clear to us that he was the guy at the quarterback position that we were going to target.”

Caldwell said he thinks Bortles will be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback for a decade or more, and Caldwell views Bortles as the kind of elite prospect who doesn’t come along very often.

“It was very easy,” Caldwell said. “There’s not a lot of 6-foot-5, 245-pound pro-style quarterbacks with the athleticism Blake has.”

Caldwell added that Chad Henne still has a shot to keep the starting job in Jacksonville, and that the Jaguars would be fine with Bortles not becoming the starter until 2015. But if Bortles, is as good as Jacksonville thinks he is, he should be able to beat out Henne.

59 responses to “Jaguars have loved Bortles since last year, but kept it quiet

  1. if you believe in him, you gotta take Bortles at #3. I think he has the most upside out of all the QB’s in the draft this year.

  2. Not only that – he gets to play Houston twice a year. Should be interesting to say the least. I think it was a pretty solid pick and makes a lot of sense.

  3. I love that nobody saw that coming. We all do our little mock drafts for months and then a guy goes at 3 that was unexpected. It makes you wonder what other teams would have taken Bortles if they would have had the chance.

  4. David Caldwell is shaping up to be one of the real up and coming GMs in this league, he seems to rally have it together.

  5. I really hope Jacksonville found thier starting QB and the Dolphins, Jags and Bucs can all turn things around because right now Florida is the laughing stock of the NFL with so many awful teams. I’m a Dolphins fan but I like the thought of the Jaguars being a good team, kind of stick it to everyone who says they’ll be moving to LA soon =)

  6. Caldwell is the coolest cat in the building. Thankful he’s a Jaguar. A big, tall fast QB that’ll be hard to sack. Hope his deep ball accuracy improves.

    C’mon, Blackmon…get your act together. This guy and you could win Super Bowls together.

    Let’s go get some D-Line help in the rest of this draft!!!!

    Feel the TEAL!

  7. I have a lot of faith in Calwell and Bradley. I hope this works out for the Jags.

  8. personally, I hate the way his name sounds. and for that, and that alone, I hope he fails so I don’t have to hear it.

  9. “There’s not a lot of 6-foot-5, 245-pound pro-style quarterbacks with the athleticism Blake has.”

    No, but there are plenty with his arm strength, and none of them are first round draft picks.

    If this was the guy they had their heart set, they should have traded down. Caldwell should have been savvy enough to know that there was no one else that was going to take Bortles that high. They could have picked up an extra pick or two and still gotten him.

  10. Why did they keep it quiet? No one else was going to take him. They could have traded down to the 20’s and gotten another pick, a 4th or 5th, and still have everybody oohing and aahing about their choice.

  11. Jaguars fans, as hard as this is for me to say, I’ll own it: Your team has been making great decisions all off-season. In fact, the best run of decisions I’ve seen your front office make since the heyday of Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell.

    – Titans Fan

  12. Uh, if we’re drafting based on ‘prototype size’, why not just sign Jamarcus Russell?

    I hope Bortles in the next Montana, but the Super Bowl winning QB last year sure didn’t have ‘prototype size’. If that’s the only qualification they had, I saw a guy last night at the draft party they could have gotten for WAY cheaper!

  13. Am I too harsh to think that the Jags are still trying to get the Blaine Gabbert pick right by doing it again?

    They are really very similar players. I was shocked by the pick.

  14. As a Jags season ticket holder, I am so excited to see my new QB come September! Now all we need to do is draft a few more weapons for Blake(Jordan Matthews-WR), and some O-linemen(Travis Martin-Center), to keep him upright.

  15. It was a reach, whether you like him or not. If you love him move back some slots, like the Browns did, get an extra 1st next year. The Jags are rebuilding. They can’t over-reach for everyone, they need to add a lot of top players. Mixed reviews on Bortles. He’s no Luck or Manning.

  16. Bortles is a young Big Ben. Get him some weapons in the 2nd round like a Jace Amaro or Marquise Lee.

  17. Bortles at #3 was a reach- a poor value. Jacksonville could have easily trade down- like Cleveland did at #4- picked up another first round pick plus, and still got Bortles at #9.

    They passed on Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack to get Bortles? Stupid.

    This can only be a local business pick. Bortles is from UCF and is big in Orlando. Jacksonville competes with Tampa for that market, and taking Bortles will help market share for Jacksonville.

    Other than that, this pick makes no sense.

  18. If it had been long established that they were picking 3rd (at the lowest) and had every reason to believe Bortles would be there — why did they uncork $10,000,000 to Henne?

    Not smart – in a cap-driven league. At least I don’t think so. That’s money that could have been allocated in places other than a clipboard carrier.

  19. I just love the “they could have traded back and got him” comments. So asinine it’s comical. We didn’t have any real clue exactly how the draft was going to play out past Clowney at one and nobody was absolutely sure about that. Now message board “experts” are speculating that Bortles would have been available later on and presenting it as fact. Let me clear it up for you guys who are making those statements, you have absolutely zero clue as to what you are talking about. None of us do. We don’t know what would have happened.
    Bottom line is, you think a guy is a franchise qb you draft him when you have a chance, you do not risk losing him. Period. Time will tell if they were right.
    Funny thing is that many of these same people wouldn’t have had a problem with a team selecting Manziel in the top ten because that possibility was speculated upon. We now all know that it would have been a mistake but we wouldn’t have known it had it happened.
    So please, stop telling us what “would have” happened or what they “could have” done.

  20. Everyone saying they could have traded down and still gotten Bortles….you really have NO IDEA if that is true! How do you know the Browns, Raiders or Vikings (all teams that picked BEFORE the Bills who traded to No. 4)don’t take him if he is there for them?

  21. “Jaguars with the number one pick selects _______ QB from ______” says Goodell announcing the number pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

  22. Blaine G, Chad H….etc. Now Add BLAKE B to the list of SCRUB QB they have had or have on their Roster. It pretty clear why they keep Drafting early.

  23. And Blake Bortles knew they wanted him from the start too. That’s why he tried so hard to impress the other 31 NFL teams hoping they’d draft him instead!

  24. And they coulda woulda shoulda had Johnny Manziel…I will be following the Browns and Jags closely…I think Johnny Football makes the Browns instant contenders for a playoff spot (plus the AFC North is rebuilding pretty much and the Bengals are posers after all), and the AFC South is weak as well…the Jags coulda been possible contenders as well but no…they just had to get Bortels who no one ever heard of before the Combine…I can see Henne starting again some time in 2014. Way to go, Jags!

  25. Regarding Bortles, does anyone doubt that the Jags #1 need was QB ?? As tons of reports have said, most teams had Bortles as their #1 ranked QB (as did the Jags obviously). As Caldwell and Bradley said, he was a unanimous choice among the scouts, coaches, GM, and ownership. So, I agree that Caldwell did the right thing and pulled the trigger on his top QB. From what I saw at the Fiesta Bowl, Bortles is a much BETTER player than Gabbert. He has good pocket presence, made good reads, and when the pocket collapsed had the good sense to run—he also can THROW ACCURATELY. He’s also (unlike BLAME Gabbert) a leader that can inspire and lead his offense. In my opinion this kid is a great prospect. If he works his butt off like he has his whole career, I believe that we may finally have a franchise QB.

  26. Yeah, but who else was gonna draft this guy? If the shoe fits, wear it but I think they coulda get a ton of picks and traded down to get him, and still got him at 15-20.

  27. Please let this guy sit for a year. Too many teams are too impatient. I feel like guys’ careers are being ruined because they lose their poise trying to start too early. Bortles has some real potential and could use some time to learn, even if it’s from Chad Henne.

  28. Rather than keep it quite, should have done applied for the “protected choice for the logically challenged.” Then, can just announce it prior to the draft. My brother-in-law uses it to get the busted arm relief pitcher 4th in line for saves on the worst mlb team in the league as the first pick in our mlb fantasy draft.

    Could have drafted watkins and retrieved gaebbart from the scrap heap. If Blake could pass and had good mechanics then his scouting report would be almost as good as Blaine’s.

    Blake Blaine Blaine Blake. Not much difference.

    Just call him Bla.

  29. I love people on here saying it’s “asinine” to say that they should have traded down instead of drafting a player who was ranked in the 20’s on most draft boards at #3.

    You do realize that teams do this all the time, right? The Browns did it last night and wound up with an extra #1 pick next year and STILL got the QB they wanted at 22 (who most people had ranked ahead of Bortles, BTW).

    You’re right, no one knows EXACTLY what will happen. That’s why your front office people get paid the big bucks- to figure it out.

    Not to sit there and do nothing and squander a top 5 pick on a player who didn’t possess top 5 talent.

  30. The Jags needed a QB and they got one. Kudos for being assertive. Gus Bradley is starting a pretty nice foundation, even though they are still another year at least from contention.

  31. There’s something about Bortles’ personality that I don’t like. Don’t know what, specifically, but I guess he generally comes off like too much of a “jock” in interviews. I hope him the best, and the Jags too, they really need someone to revitalize their team.

  32. Its not easy finding a franchise QB, just ask Minnesota.

    I give the Jags credit for pulling the trigger if they think he’s the one. The Vikings let Rodgers sit in the Green Room even though they had 2 first rounders that year. Just goes to show what happens when you sit on your hands.

  33. I like this pick for Jacksonville. Given the lack of offensive talent on the squad, probably a good idea to give Chad Henne the keys to the offense this year so as not to ruin the kid’s confidence when the inevitable bumpy ride starts.

  34. I’m honestly surprised that alot more people didn’t see the Bortles pick coming. Here is my comment that I made regarding Bortles in my mock draft.. BACK IN JANUARY.

    5/6 UPDATE: This one pick doesn’t change. Mack has been a real climber over the past couple months, however, my comments from back in January (found below) still stand. Change 1/15: Jacksonville has to do something about their QB position, and do it early in the draft. With Caldwell now in Jacksonville, I can see them taking Bortles. Caldwell was the head of Atlanta’s scouting department the year that they drafted Matt Ryan 3rd overall. Jacksonville takes Bortles, who has a very similar skill set to Ryan.

  35. Small hands, weak arm, not accurate. Qbs have to actually throw in the nfl, not just look like they can


    A bit harsh, but the stats don’t lie.

    Only 50% completion percentage for passes 10 yards and over. Is that really a “Franchise” guy?

    Maybe he can just stand there and “look like he can play”

  36. “There’s not a lot of 6-foot-5, 245-pound pro-style quarterbacks with the athleticism Blake has.”

    Guy runs a 4.95 forty. In what world is that considered athletic?!

    Funny how the bar for what passes as “athletic” is lowered for certain players.

    Dude is a slow footed, long-ball floater who will be out of the league in 3 years. But at least he “looks” like he can play.

  37. Jacksonville needs to sell tickets. You know what Browns sold a lot of last night after they got “Johnny Football”? Yep tickets. What did Jacksonville get? A future Dennie’s Dish washer.

  38. My initial thought yesterday was that this was a moronic choice simply because they could have traded down and still got him, but if they feel THIS strongly about him, you don’t even risk it. Hope it works out well for Gus & the Jags.

  39. Ah, the guess fest starts. We shall see who this guy really is in time. Until then haters gonna hate, homers gonna hope.

    Remember…. These aren’t the guys who ran the Jags into the ground. They hit on every pick last year. How many teams have ALL of last year’s draft class still with the team?

    What’s a stone certainty is that the Jags have 10 more picks, and while one year isn’t a trend – if last year’s draft is anything to go by, they’ll do better than most teams in the NFL…

  40. If this story is true, this was a great pick for Jacksonville, I hope he works out.

  41. For all of the second guessers and “draft experts”, the bottom line.

    The Jags wanted Bortles.

    They got him.

    End of story. 🙂

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