The Jaguars now have their franchise quarterback going forward, but there’s a ton of work to be done with Blake Bortles. He’s often been described as “raw” leading up to the draft, and that analysis is certainly warranted. Still, he has a lot going for him too.
First off, Bortles is huge. At 6’5″ and 232 pounds, he’s very similar in stature to Ben Roethlisberger. Trust me, you’ll hear that comparison a lot this preseason and season when Bortles does eventually make it into the starting lineup. In addition, he moves a lot like Pittsburgh’s signal caller. He has the ability to extend plays through his movement in and outside the pocket, but he seldom takes off down field on passing plays. He keeps his eyes on his receivers, often finding breakdowns in coverage to exploit.
Aside from comparisons to Roethlisberger, you’ll also be hearing comparisons to Blaine Gabbert. Sure, the Jaguars may have over-drafted Bortles a little, but let’s not get stupid with our comparisons to Gabbert, a quarterback that shares very little with Bortles in their styles of play.
Probably the first thing Jaguars fans will notice and love about Bortles is his willingness to take a hit to deliver a pass. That pass isn’t always on target (one of the things Bortles will need to improve upon), but the days of phantom pressure taking down the Jags’ quarterback should be over and gone.
Other issues Bortles has aside from pass accuracy include decision making lapses and a less than elite arm. Fortunately, Bortles has all the intangibles present that can bolster a quarterback’s ability. It’s the things that can be improved with practice that Bortles needs work on, and that gives him a very high ceiling in the NFL. Like the Steelers, the Jaguars will need to emphasize protecting Bortles in the pocket because his mobility may get him into some trouble. That being said, that mobility will also bail the Jaguars out from time to time. It’s a trade off that can impact games in a huge way both negatively and positively.