After Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater turned in a forgettable performance at his pro day, all eyes turned to Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles and his chance to shine for scouts. Luckily for Bortles, he was much better than Bridgewater and impressed those in attendance.
Reports out of Orlando suggest Bortles was everywhere from solid to really good during his workout. He measured in at just under 6-5 and weighed in at 229 pounds, which was three pounds lighter than his showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.
There was no doubt entering Wednesday’s workout that Bortles is easily the most physically impressive of the quarterbacks in this year draft. His performance only strengthened that perception. At this point it would be hard seeing someone else taken ahead of him as the first quarterback off the board in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bortles was great on his short and intermediate throws and was completely on-point early in his workout. He missed on some of his deep throws but it wasn’t for a lack of arm strength. He tailed off a little late, but it was reportedly incredibly hot inside UCF’s indoor practice facility where the workout was being held and he may have simply run out of gas.
Bortles also displayed better footwork than we have seen from him to go along with improved mechanics. Those are two things most scouts had hoped to see. The 22-year-old signal-caller delivered in both areas.
The UCF product has easily the highest ceiling of any of this quarterbacks in this year’s draft, but he may not be ready to take over an NFL team right away. Bridgewater is probably the most NFL-ready of the signal-callers available this year.
Bortles was fantastic in 2013 and it’s no wonder he jumped on everyone’s radar as a top prospect. He led UCF to six second-half comebacks on the season and was actually better in the second half than the first. For the year he completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,581 yards, with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 272 yards and six touchdowns.
Bortles has all the tools teams look for in a franchise quarterback. It may take him some time to unlock his full potential, but physically he’s exactly what most organizations want under center. His pro day further solidified that.