I’ve been keeping up with fans on Facebook and around the internet comments sections, and one common denominator between various outlets is becoming clear. Blake Bortles is Blaine Gabbert 2.0.
Stop. Please stop.
First and foremost, there are no concerns about Bortles’ movement in the pocket coming out of the University of Central Florida. In fact, that’s one of Borltes’ better qualities.
Sure Bortles doesn’t have a huge arm, but that may improve with time. As of right now, Bortles makes up for that by coming from a pro-style offense that should have him ready to go in Jacksonville. Gabbert came from a spread offense and never made the adjustment to the Jaguars’ offense.
Bortles also has more talent around him coming in than Gabbert ever had in Jacksonville. That alone should help him be successful early in his NFL career. Gabbert rarely played with good targets to get the ball to, and his offensive line gave him nothing but pressure. There’s still work to do on the offense, but Bortles should be able to stay upright behind the Jags’ line, and he has several solid targets to spread the ball to.
Was Bortles over-drafted? Yes, he was. The Jaguars probably could have moved down a few picks and still nabbed him, but trading down for minimal gain is a dangerous game. Who knows, the Jags may have tried to actually move down, but doing so isn’t a big deal.
As I’ve said before, drafting a quarterback is less about getting great value than it is about getting the right quarterback. Russell Wilson would have been “over-drafted” had the Seahawks drafted him in the first round instead of the third round, but now, no one would question that pick. In fact, aside from both guys’ first name starting with the letter “B,” the opinion that Bortles was over-drafted is where the similarities between Bortles and Gabbert end.
As with any selection, we need to wait and see. There’s good chance Bortles will become the Jags’ starter at some point this season (I would argue sooner than later, but that argument is for another day). When he does take over as the team’s starting quarterback, we’ll be able to begin evaluating this pick. For now, just be happy the Jaguars have a top young prospect that may become the team’s first true franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell.