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George O'Leary: 2014 NFL Draft Lacks Franchise QB

UCF Head Coach George O'Leary doesn't feel there is an NFL franchise quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, which would include UCF's Blake Bortles, who is currently ranked atop the latest NFL player gradings for quarterbacks.

Ronald Martinez

You may recall this recent article on BRB that showed the history of Bill O'Brien coaching under George O'Leary when they were together at Georgia Tech. O'Leary and Jim Bernhardt are also longtime friends, and Bernhardt was with O'Leary at UCF as the recruiting coordinator prior to teaming up with O'Brien at Penn State and now with the Texans. George Godsey, the new quarterback coach for the Texans, played quarterback for O'Brien and O'Leary at Georgia Tech. With ties this close to O'Leary, it's fair to assume that they trust what he has to say regarding player talent.

The "MaD Radio Show" on Houston's Sports Radio 610 interviewed O'Leary, and Will Grubb of 610 provided this article of the interview, where O'Leary was quoted in saying:

"I think a franchise quarterback comes out once every ten years and he came out last year in (Andrew) Luck," O’Leary said on MaD Radio. "The ones I see succeed are understudies."

O'Leary is talking about the proverbial pre-draft sure thing like Andrew Luck, since it is hard to gauge some quarterbacks in college who later develop well once they get to the NFL. Obviously some of those "understudies" become worthy of longtime franchise designation, like Tom Brady, who was drafted in the 6th round of 2000.

When you consider the quarterback needy NFL teams in the hunt this off-season, including none other than your Houston Texans, there are expectations that Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and even perhaps Derek Carr are all ready to be NFL starters for 2014. The NFL's latest "draft tracker" player rankings shows them ranked accordingly. It also shows defensive end Jadeveon Clowney graded as the best player in the draft.

O'Leary said positive things about Blake Bortles, who has been playing quarterback for him the last four years at UCF.

On Bortles:

"Blake has all the things you’re looking for in a quarterback as far a size and mental capacity to handle a lot of things," O’Leary said. "But that first year is tough [in the NFL] because those guys are moving a lot faster than the college guys."

George O'Leary also weighed in on his thoughts of Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney, since he faced both of them when they played against UCF last season. His Golden Knights lost at home in Orlando to the Clowney-led South Carolina Gamecocks 28-25, and the Knights went on the road to Kentucky and defeated the Bridgewater-led Louisville Cardinals 38-35 two weeks later.

On Clowney:

"I think if you had to draw a clone up of a defensive end, he's Clowney. He makes everyone around him better, because in college we had to put an extra guy on him all the time. He made that [offensive] tackle look better, he made that other defensive end look better." O'Leary said. "I think Clowney's just an outstanding athlete. He's the size you want, the speed you want. I think more worthy of a number one overall pick."

On Bridgewater:

"Teddy is a very poised guy, and makes plays." O'Leary said. "He's always under control, and can make all the throws you need to make."

You can listen to the recorded audio interview by clicking HERE.

Well, that's an interesting take regarding prospective players who could end up as the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. For a class that is so deep at quarterback, it is sobering to consider that none of them are a sure thing, at least according to longtime coach George O'Leary.

Let's hear from you now. Does this change your thoughts on what the Texans should do with the number one pick?