If NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' latest mock draft is on target, former Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles will have a lengthy and uncomfortable wait through most of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.
Brooks projects Bortles to be chosen No. 20 overall by the Arizona Cardinals, which would represent quite a tumble from some of the more lofty projections on Bortles, which have been as high as No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans. That's where Bortles falls in the latest mock from NFL Media analyst Charles Davis.
But is it really all that far-fetched to suggest that Bortles -- or any of the draft's top three quarterbacks, including Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater -- might take a draft-day tumble? Not really. It's become a fairly conventional school of thought that none of them represent the sort of can't-miss, franchise quarterback that made Andrew Luck such an easy choice for the Indianapolis Colts two years ago. On a straight value board, then, they might not be nearly as attractive to a club intent on simply drafting the best player early in the first round, rather than suiting a specific need.
Most of the teams with a need at quarterback are packed closely together at the front of the first round -- the Texans, Jaguars, Browns, and Raiders -- with four of the draft's first five picks. If enough teams in that cluster believe they would be better off drafting a different position first, then selecting a quarterback like Fresno State's Derek Carr or Alabama's AJ McCarron at the top of the second round, the fate of the Bortles-Manziel-Bridgewater trio could go in a variety of directions.
Other than the Cardinals, whom Brooks points out will need a Carson Palmer successor sooner rather than later, there are a number of other clubs who could capture a top-shelf quarterback outside the top five picks. Brooks has the Minnesota Vikings taking Bridgewater with the No. 8 pick. Are the Tennessee Titans prepared to make a first-round quarterback investment on top of Jake Locker? Might one of the league's top teams with aging quarterbacks picking at the back end of the first round (New England Patriots, Denver Broncos) be prepared to do the same?
The possibilities are too numerous for Bortles, or any quarterback, to make any assumptions.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.