Blake Bortles is one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL draft, but he won't be a star for just any team. It will take a good fit to groom this signal-caller into one of the game's best young quarterbacks.
His draft stock has mostly remained steady throughout the extraordinarily lengthy period leading up to Round 1 of the draft.
He's a first-round lock, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly where he'll land. I'd say somewhere in the first 10 picks, but there are better fits for him outside the first 15.
Multiple teams needs quarterbacks, though, so it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Regardless of what happens, these are the three quarterback-needy teams with which he fits best.
Houston Texans (No. 1)
The Houston Texans are an ideal fit for pretty much all of the quarterback prospects in this draft because of the explosive offensive weapons already in place. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and Owen Daniels are all fantastic playmakers when healthy.
The offense struggled under Matt Schaub and Case Keenum last season, and injuries at times didn't help.
Now that Schaub is gone, Houston needs a new quarterback to take this franchise back to success. Keenum isn't that guy, but Bortles could be.
The Central Florida product possesses a blend of size, strength and athleticism that the NFL is beginning to love in quarterbacks. He is also a very good pocket passer with good footwork, instincts and the ability to make all the throws he'll be asked to execute.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle recognizes that Bortles is one of the only quarterback options that really makes sense for Houston:
Throw in Bortles' potential to succeed in this offense and the little pressure that will be on him given the overall talent of both the offense and defense, and this is a perfect fit.
Dallas Cowboys (No. 16)
The Tony Romo era is still in full swing, but it might be a good time for the Dallas Cowboys to look into selecting their next franchise quarterback at No. 16.
Bortles does possess several physical gifts, but he's probably still not ready to take the reins of an NFL offense right away. It would be best for him to sit behind an established veteran to learn the game from.
Romo might be one of the least clutch quarterbacks in the league, but the guy still knows how to pick apart NFL secondaries. Bortles could do far worse than to learn from him.
It's not that much of a stretch to think that Bortles might fall to No. 16, either. At the very least, the Cowboys seem prepared for him to fall. David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas has Bortles ahead of Johnny Manziel on its quarterback big board:
A report that the Texas A&M quarterback heads the team’s board is inaccurate. Sources say that Manziel is not their top player. Those same sources say he’s not even their top-rated quarterback.
Sources confirm that distinction goes to Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.
Should Bortles be selected by Dallas, a situation like the Green Bay Packers had several years ago could unfold. Remember when the team selected Aaron Rodgers with Brett Favre still firmly entrenched at the position? Yeah, well, a few years later Rodgers was the talk of the town.
That could happen in Dallas as well.
Arizona Cardinals (No. 20)
The Arizona Cardinals aren't in immediate need of a quarterback because Carson Palmer is under contract until after 2015, but No. 20 would be a great spot to take Bortles if he falls there.
ESPN's Ron Jaworski (h/t Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com) likes the fit between the two:
But the guy I like is (Blake) Bortles. I would not be shocked if they went for Bortles at number 20.
I think he's a guy that projects well for the type of offense that Bruce [Arians] likes to run, that Tom Moore likes to run. The ball explodes out of this guy's hand. He has every throw. He's tough, he can hang in the pocket.
Palmer doesn't have many years left, so grooming the team's next quarterback within the coming years is crucial. Even if it doesn't happen with Bortles in Round 1, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reports that it'll happen before Round 3 finishes:
Bortles is the best fit of all the other quarterbacks for Arizona, though. I like him here if he falls this far.