Blake Bortles QB Central Florida #5
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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size, strength and athleticism. Moves very well for his size and is a threat to run (think of a slightly more mobile Andrew Luck). Very tough for defensive linemen to bring down when he sees them coming.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Arm strength is more than adequate, when he has time to step into the throw. When he’s on the move, his arm strength diminishes noticeably and leads to some bad interceptions. He is capable of throwing the deep ball, but he doesn’t throw it on a rope—it tends to hang up in the air and if a defensive back is in position, it’s easy to make a play on the ball. Accuracy is very hit or miss. He makes some really pretty throws into tight spaces occasionally, but he also unleashes some wild misses. He consistently gets the ball in the general vicinity of his receivers, but his exact placement is mediocre. He makes his receiver work for their catches.
Footwork/Release: In a perfectly clean pocket, his mechanics look great but when he feels pressure he rushes and fails to set his feet and transfer his weight properly. He tends to let his body move in different directions as he’s releasing the ball, which takes away from his velocity (which is modest to begin with).
Decision making: Trusts his arm far too much. He tries to squeeze the ball into tight spaces and he simply doesn’t have the arm strength or pinpoint accuracy to make it happen. These types of mistakes happen both under pressure and when he’s standing in a clean pocket. Tends to force the ball downfield when he’s looking for a big play, and his modest arm strength causes the ball to hang up in the air too long giving defenders in the area plenty of time to make a play.
Intangibles: A team leader who will have no issues earning respect of teammates, even as a rookie. Coaches and teammates at UCF speak highly of him.
Durability: No known issues. However, his physical style of play and his willingness to take on defenders will get him hurt at some point.
Comments: Bortles is an easy player to like. He plays tough, makes exciting plays and he’s a great interview. For those reasons, some coach and GM will probably fall in love with him and make him an early selection. However, there are plenty of red flags in his play which lead to questions about his ability to be a starter at a high level. Bortles’ arm strength is his biggest physical flaw, but it can be overcome if he improves his mechanics and his decision making. His playmaking ability will allow him to have some immediate success, but his long-term development could be stunted if he doesn’t sit and learn for a period of time.