Blake Bortles' meteoric rise to the top of draft boards got another boost yesterday with his Pro Day performance in Florida. With 38 completions on 47 passes, Bortles drew a heap of praise from pundits and coaches alike. We'll start with the two men atop the Houston Texans organization.
"I was very impressed. [Bortles] made every throw I wanted to see, and he showed good footwork."
"I like what he did. I was very impressed with him."
Sounds like they got their stories straight before talking with the media. John McClain was on the scene and adds more.
Bill O'Brien on Bortles' pro day: "When you're throwing against air, it's just part of the process -- tape, combine, pro day, interviews."— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 19, 2014
Bill O'Brien on Blake Bortles: "We met with him last night. it was a good meeting. He's a really nice kid and a smart kid."— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) March 19, 2014
The usual draftniks had much more interesting things to say, seemingly trying to one-up each other with hyperbole.
"I thought it was a really good workout. He showed the big arm, as advertised.
"I thought they did a good job showcasing him. You don't ever want to read too much or too little into a pro day. I want to see a quarterback a lot. For me, it just crosses off a box.
"His movement skills were good. He threw on the run to his left. He threw the deep ball and the intermediate ball. He threw the deep outs, and that's indicative of a strong-armed quarterback.
"I think the word for this kid is potential. He's young, he's got a lot of work to do - I can see that on tape - but what I saw out there is he's potentially a franchise quarterback."
"I don't care how many catches or drops or anything like that, I see a guy that clearly has raw physical tools present and is progressing towards a more finished product than what I saw from Bridgewater earlier this week. If I'm absolutely taking a quarterback, I'm taking Blake Bortles."
"I give him a 10 [out of 10]. I think he smelled a little blood in the water considering (Teddy) Bridgewater had a subpar day. He was well prepared and did everything right."
If you want actual analysis of Bortles' performance instead of easily-digestible one-liners, I suggest you head over to Rob Rang's breakdown on CBSSports.com. Here's an excerpt:
The majority of his early throws were touch passes, a few of which hung in the air and forced receivers to wait on the ball. Most were thrown accurately, allowing receivers to run after the catch easily. Receivers occasionally had to reach high outside of their frame to make tough grabs.
Rather than build momentum as he did in UCF's thrilling comeback win over Bridgewater's Louisville team in October, Bortles' workout finished with several of his deep throws sailing too far over the head of his intended targets.
The inability to connect on long throws won't necessarily hurt the quarterback's stock with scouts, as he showed good touch and trajectory on the passes.
It was clear that Bortles wanted to demonstrate his comfort in moving about the pocket, slipping past a coach directing the action as well as avoiding objects thrown toward his feet. He did not take snaps from an actual center but took three-, five- and seven-step drops as well as mimicking the shotgun before throwing passes.
Because his footwork is considered an area of concern for the young quarterback, the improvement shown in this area is significant.
Bortles completes 38-of-47 with four of those incompletions drops. Missed a few deep balls where looks like WR cut routes too short.— Paul Tenorio (@osknights) March 19, 2014
The momentum and general opinion has shifted so many times between all the potential number ones that I don't even know how to brush my teeth in the morning without second-guessing myself. Why am I brushing left to right? Would a circular motion help fight gingivitis? Is that a pimple or a boil?
HURRY UP, DRAFT.