When NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt listed Blake Bortles among his players who have the most to prove at the NFL Scouting Combine, he said he wanted to see Bortles "outclass the other quarterbacks" he's competing against in every drill, not just the ones that show off his throwing arm.
"He might not be the equal of Johnny Manziel moving around," Brandt said. "But if teams are to consider Bortles that high in the draft, he has to be at least close to Manziel in athletic ability."
Bortles apparently sees eye to eye with Brandt. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Bortles said he keeps a sheet that lists the average marks in each drill of every NFL quarterback who has performed at the combine. As he trains toward next week's event, Bortles said he has been using this list as his target.
"I'm not the fastest guy or I won't jump the highest or the furthest or any of that," said Bortles, who is on the short list of potential No. 1 overall draft picks. "But I've got that sheet ... and my goal is to be above that (average) in every single category."
NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said he believes it would be a mistake if Bortles chooses not to throw.
"It's his chance to be on the same platform with Manziel and Bridgewater," Davis said. "He can help himself a great deal if he decides to participate in throwing drills at the combine. ... In my opinion, he should throw every chance he gets. He can let everyone know the kind of player and competitor he is by not missing an opportunity to show his ability. Given the circumstances in this year's draft, it would be a mistake for him not to do whatever he can to gain an edge."
The race among the top quarterbacks in the draft is a tight one among Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. In Davis' second mock draft, he has Jadeveon Clowney going No. 1 to the Houston Texans; however, he said if the Texans choose to draft a quarterback, it could be Bortles who goes first.