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Report: UCF QB Blake Bortles to declare for 2014 NFL Draft

Matt York/Associated Press
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles will be in the mix to be the first player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The remarkable ascent of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles is set to culminate Monday with the redshirt junior declaring he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

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Possessing elite arm strength and good athleticism, Bortles reportedly received a first-round grade from the draft advisory board and at least one NFL team with a top-10 pick regards him as the top quarterback in the draft after throwing for 3,581 yards and 25 touchdowns against nine interceptions this season.

However, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks expressed serious reservations regarding Bortles' overnight coronation and questioned his long-term future.

"I see a good player with a lot of upside, but I don't see a transcendent star that will significantly change the fortunes of a dismal franchise. Now, that doesn't mean he can't be an effective starter for a team, but I believe it will take him some time to develop into a solid player as a pro," Brooks said.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah concurred, likening Bortles to Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who has been erratic in his three-year career.

Bortles (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) was largely unknown coming into this season, but that all changed after leading the Knight to a 12-1 record, the American Athletic Conference championship, and a win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

With Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M established as the top three quarterbacks in the draft class -- though Manziel has yet to publicly announce his future plans -- the jockeying at the top of the board can now begin in earnest.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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