By Jerry Angelo
February 26, 2014
There rarely is a draft where a team’s number one need, particularly at the quarterback position, is also one of the best players. From the player’s standpoint, more rarely is the team that has the pick the perfect team for him.
That’s the case this year.
I can hear the commissioner saying right now, "With the first overall pick in the first round, the Houston Texans take quarterback Blake Bortles, from the University of Central Florida."
The reason I like Bortles best is because he’s the prototype of what successful NFL quarterbacks historically look like. He’s got a big arm, can run and extend plays with his size and mobility. Those traits are critical for the success of any quarterback.
Bortles looks similar to Ben Roethlisberger when he came out. Ben had more arm talent, but their movement - the way they both kept plays alive and the plays they made in the clutch to win games - are very similar. It is also worth noting that Bortles is the son of a coach and he’s tough as nails.
Remember, Houston’s new head coach got a good, first-hand look at his future No. 1 pick when Central Florida went into State College and beat his Nittany Lions. It was an embarrassing loss but one I’m sure the coach hasn’t forgotten, especially the performance of the Knights quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Football (love the name and fits him perfectly) are exceptions to the rule. They have the “it” factor you look for at the position, but not the frames. The biggest concern for both, particularly Manziel, is durability. Quarterbacks are going to get hit and hit hard and it’s a long season at the next level. The simple fact is big lasts longer and that favor Bortles.
With Bortles, the Texans would get a guy that can change their fortunes pretty quickly and the player gets to go to a team with a great supporting cast and a head coach who knows how to groom him. We saw the same thing happen two years ago when Andrew Luck came out and went to Indy where he had the perfect coach in Bruce Arians. Remember that Bortles would have better talent around him than Luck had around him in Indianapolis as a rookie.
Houston has the potential to be a contender again and the head coach can do what he does best and that’s develop and train a quarterback that fits his mold. Drafting and developing quarterbacks is probably the toughest thing to do in the NFL. To find the right player and the right coach is improbable.
We all know there are no sure things, but in this case I’d bet on this one.