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How Blake Bortles Fits with the Jacksonville Jaguars

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles poses with NFL commissioner Roger Gooddell after being selected as the third pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Craig Ruttle/Associated Press
Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars fans across the globe are still picking their jaws up off the floor.

Out of all the possibilities in the first round, general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley decided that UCF quarterback Blake Bortles was the right man to lead this organization into the future.

There's no question that the Jaguars needed to address this position.

After shipping Blaine Gabbert off to the San Francisco 49ers and re-signing veteran Chad Henne, the time to select a young gunslinger was now.

But how does a 6'5", 232-pound young man like Bortles fit into Jacksonville?

The short answer to that question is, he's more of a long-term solution.

Bortles has everything and more you'd want from a measurables standpoint. He just looks like an NFL quarterback. There will never be any doubts about his size, arm strength and ability to push the football downfield.

On top of that, Bortles is a flat-out competitor.

Posting a 22-5 record as a starter at Central Florida, he capped off his illustrious collegiate career leading his team to an impressive Fiesta Bowl victory against the Baylor Bears.

The problem is, he's incredibly unpolished. Turn on the film, and you'll see a quarterback who struggles at times, thanks to sloppy footwork and a severe lack of touch on throws across the middle of the field.

Talking about some of the concerns he has with Bortles' game, Chris B. Brown of Grantland wrote:

Some evaluators have dismissed these concerns as a “footwork issue” that NFL coaching will remedy, but I’m not so sure. Bortles’s upper body presents just as many issues as his lower body, and getting all his movements in sync will be no small task. The team that drafts Bortles will likely need to rebuild his entire throwing motion.

Will this coaching staff actually have to reconstruct his throwing motion? If so, how long is that process going to take?

Knowing that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch likes to run a fast-paced offense where his quarterbacks make quick decisions, it's going to be tough for Bortles to jump in right away and run the show.

But if the plan is to let him marinate and embrace the subtleties of the position, Bortles could wind up being a fantastic player. The tools are certainly there.

Unfortunately, if he's thrust into action and is forced to throw the ball to Cecil Shorts and Marcedes Lewis for 16 games, things could get ugly.

If nothing else, you have to give Caldwell props for taking a quarterback right away. He understands how important the position is, and clearly feels like Bortles has a lot to offer.

 

All CFB stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.

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