NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Blake Bortles has earned "mostly positive reviews" after starting 11 games during his up-and-down rookie campaign.
The Jaguars came into the year planning to redshirt Bortles, but after he excelled in practice, Gus Bradley and his coaching staff "basically had no choice but to force him out there," which raised the obvious risk of rendering the first-rounder shell-shocked after taking an outrageous 46 sacks, second most in the league.
Rapoport was told the team loves the rookie's mental toughness, his deep-ball accuracy and the poise Bortles has shown late in games, specifically in guiding a game-winning drive against the Giants in Week 13.
"They believe he is their best player on offense physically," Rapoport said. "That is another thing, which, of course, speaks to how many rookies they're playing, but also, that's what you want out of your quarterback of the future."
Bortles is also responsible for 18 giveaways this season, third most in the league. He's thrown for 300-plus yards just once and endured a string of rough starts, but we also see the requisite arm strength and physical makeup of a long-term NFL starter.