Nov 29, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; UCF Knights quarterback Blake Bortles (5) before playing against the South Florida Bulls at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Targets: Blake Bortles Scouting Report


We’ve looked at Texas A&M duo Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans, and now we turn our focus to an in-state option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the seventh overall pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles had a phenomenal three-year college career (only two years as a starter) and has risen on many draft boards because of that.

Bortles’ threat with both his arm and his legs make him a hot commodity around the league and he’s a sure bet to be a high draft pick come Thursday.

Below are the highlights of Bortles’ scouting report, provided by our good friends over at www.withthefirstpick.com, so please go check out their scouting reports of many of this year’s top prospects.

Vitals and Build

Bortles is listed at 6’4” 230lbs and looks the part of the prototype quarterback. He has a big, strong build that has him the same size as many linebackers. Bortles possesses impressive quickness and a great first step as well as good top end speed for the position. He has good body control and balance for the most part.

Arm Strength

Bortles has a good arm in his ability to push the football down the field. He is able to comfortably drive the ball 50 yards down the field while getting a pretty good amount of velocity on the football. Bortles does not have an overwhelming arm, but nothing that suggests he should be limited in terms of scheme. He is able to get good zip on the ball. Bortles has demonstrated that he can throw a decent fastball and get the ball into relatively small windows. He is also able to throw a solid line drive when he is throwing on the move.

Accuracy and Touch

Bortles has been able to be an accurate quarterback, but so much of it depends on his mechanics. He has been able to throw accurate passes at just about every level of the field, showing an impressive ability on corner throws. There really is no throw he cannot make, but just needs to be consistent. Because of inconsistent mechanics, he can miss in any direction. He has had passes he has grounded, overthrown and missed to either side of the target, which points to his footwork. He is able to zip the football in to pretty tight windows and has shown the ability to put the ball just over defenders and give his receivers the opportunities to make plays.

Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Mechanics and Footwork

Bortles has inconsistent mechanics and footwork. He does not have one glaring issue so much as he has a number of small ones that present themselves at different times. His throwing motion generally has him taking the ball to his ear and pushing forward, but there are times when he will go with a longer windup; which sometimes will have him put the ball down his hip. Bortles’ footwork is a larger issue. When he is on his game, Bortles has good feet, quickly operating and setting up to throw, stepping into the throw on time. Occasionally, Bortles will bring his feet too close together under him presenting the possibility of a loss of balance. Bortles is actually at his best when he is on the move, and he is impressively accurate when he is throwing with nothing but his upper body and torso.

Pocket Awareness

This is an area where Bortles really excels. He is extremely comfortable in the pocket, is able to work in small spaces and does not panic. Bortles has the ability to plant his foot in the ground and escape in any direction, able to make opponents miss, but what makes him stand out is his willingness to step up in the pocket.

He has shown he is willing to step up and fire the ball, but when it comes to scrambling, Bortles does much of it up the middle and between the tackles. He certainly has the ability to and has escaped to the outside when he deems it necessary, but he trusts the pocket and his protection, which allows him to make a decision down the field more quickly. If there is one area that can give him a little bit of trouble, it is pressure up the middle. Bortles can handle and avoid it but he tends to get rushed in that area and looks to get rid of the football.

Decision Making and Anticipation

Bortles ability to make good decisions is solid, but he will get himself into trouble when he assumes throws. Usually in situations where Bortles is going to his primary read, he will misread or underestimate the defense, allowing the ball to be put in danger and the opponent to cause problems. He will occasionally get greedy and go for plays he should not, but generally takes what the defense gives him, taking the profit and avoiding too many risky throws.

Mobility

Bortles’ legs are a weapon and certainly give him options. He has a great first step and accelerates quickly whether he is working laterally or going forward. Bortles has the ability to roll out and move the pocket as well as escape pressure.

For the complete scouting report of Bortles, please click here.

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