The Jacksonville Jaguars made a huge mistake by deciding to start over again by selecting Blake Bortles. They shouldn’t expect a quick return on their investment as Bortles isn’t a finished product needing to improve several areas of his game.
His issues range from inconsistent mechanics, questionable decision making skills and a tendency to rely on his legs to move the football. It appears as though he’ll get a chance to work on these deficiencies working behind veteran Chad Henne.
The first thing he needs to focus on is fine tuning his foot work. Bortles tends to fade off his throws which hinders the zip he’s able to generate on the ball. He doesn’t have elite arm strength to begin which is why he needs to drive off his back foot to get the most of his ability.
That inconsistent footwork also hurts his overall accuracy. This is mainly apparent when Bortles attempts to attack the deep part of the field. I'm not the only one concerned about his accuracy as shown by the below tweet:
#Jaguars HC Gus Bradley said accuracy was one of the ways in which Blake Bortles would need to grow.— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) May 9, 2014
It’s important for NFL quarterbacks to make quick and accurate decisions. Too often, Bortles looks to force the ball into tight coverage. This is because he’ll lock on to his No. 1 target struggling to go through his progressions. NFL defensive backs will eat Bortles alive if he continues to telegraph his decisions.
The majority of evaluators point to Bortles ideal measurables and surprising running ability as his major positives. However, he relies too much on his legs to move the chains. He isn’t the type of athlete who’ll be able to consistently hurt the defense by running. Bortles will need to work on staying in the pocket and picking up first downs with his arm.
Jacksonville would’ve been better off going with Johnny Manziel with this pick. With Gus Bradley at the helm, the Jaguars are looking to develop an elite defense to drive this team. Manziel is the type of competitor who defensive players can easily rally around.
Compared to Bortles, Manziel is more NFL-ready and capable of helping his team win games as a rookie. It’s also important to look at the business aspect of Jacksonville’s decision. This is a team who struggles to sell tickets and lacks an identity. According to ESPN, Jacksonville ranked 28th in the league last year in home game attendance.
Manziel would’ve helped put fans in the seats and generate a ton of buzz. Bortles isn’t only going to need time to develop but he does little to appease a fan base thirsty for some excitement.
Lastly, the Jaguars are a team with needs all across the roster. Selecting Bortles at No. 3 is too much of a risk because he isn’t a slam dunk prospect. Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins are much safer picks and bring just as much potential.