In the 2014 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Blake Bortles with the third-overall pick. Immediately after the selection, the Jaguars stated that their plan was to sit Bortles for his entire rookie season. But is this the right decision?
Gus Bradley: Giving Blake Bortles "a year to develop" will be very good: http://t.co/efPZkhuB6y— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) May 21, 2014
Over the past couple of years, many rookie quarterbacks have succeeded right out of the gate. Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III all led their respective teams to the playoffs in their rookie years.
Even Ryan Tannehill started Week 1 of his rookie year for the Miami Dolphins, and he spent half of his college career as a wide receiver.
Maybe the Jaguars are just gun-shy after their last quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, didn't pan out. In his rookie year, Gabbert started 14 games and ended the season with an abysmal 65.4 quarterback rating (according to Pro-Football-Reference.com).
Many writers and analysts believe Bortles just isn't ready.
Bortles: Potential to be best QB in this class and high-end starter, but current skills aren't NFL-ready. High ceiling, very low floor.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 19, 2014
Bortles may need some time to develop, but can he actually grow and become a better quarterback while holding a clipboard? Aaron Rodgers believes he can:
Rodgers sat for several years, but at least his mentor was all-time great Brett Favre. Bortles will be taught by Chad Henne, a player with a mediocre 75.3 career quarterback rating (according to ESPN).
If the Jaguars want Bortles to become their franchise quarterback, he needs to gain experience on the field. According to a recent poll conducted by SB Nation, fans believe he will start after the bye week.
The only legitimate reason to sit the rookie signal-caller is because of the offensive line. Last season, the Jaguars gave up 50 sacks, second most in the NFL behind the Miami Dolphins (58).
If the Jags want to wait for an approved offensive line, then it makes sense not to throw their rookie quarterback into the line of fire. However, their starting center (Brad Meester), left tackle (Eugene Monroe) and right guard (Uche Nwaneri) from last year are no longer on the team.
With a new and improved offensive line, the Jaguars won't have to worry so much about Bortles getting hurt.
Like most of the young successful quarterbacks in this league, Bortles must start as a rookie in order to develop.
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