Central Florida's Blake Bortles has been a fast riser among NFL quarterback prospects for the upcoming draft, but for NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, it's been a little too fast.
"I've seen the rush of people pushing Blake Bortles up the charts. To me, I think there is a substantial difference between the way he plays, and the other two guys," Brooks said. "I think he's a talented athlete, I think he has the prerequisite size you look for, but I just don't think his game is as polished as a Johnny Manziel or a Teddy Bridgewater. ... I think those two guys are alpha dogs, and I think Blake Bortles is a little bit behind it. But I think someone is going to talk themselves into thinking Blake Bortles is a franchise guy ahead of those guys, and I just think it's going to be a big mistake."
"Don't be surprised if that's Houston," Davis responded.
With a clear need at quarterback, the Texans hold the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft and Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles have emerged as the hottest names among prospects at the position. But rather than simply assess which quarterback is better, Davis pointed to the tendencies of specific coaches and what kind of quarterbacks they have been known to employ in the past. Houston's Bill O'Brien, Davis and Brooks agreed, is known to like his quarterbacks big, strong, and patient in the pocket.
"When coaches or teams have to make a pick, what swings it in favor of one guy over the others? Because you can lump all three of them together. To me, Bortles might get the nod from Houston because of what he did last year, going to Penn State and beating Bill O'Brien's team. Those are the types of things that linger with a coach and a decision-maker," Davis said. "... Plus, Bortles has the best size out of the three. The old-school, ideal quarterback size. When his upside comes up, a lot of people think he has his best football ahead of him."
Davis used the analogy of children wanting to touch a hot stove, despite parental warnings, regarding the personality Manziel will bring to the NFL. Manziel, he said, will have to learn some lessons the hard way and be shown what he can and can't do at the next level.
"I think Bridgewater and Bortles, you're more likely to say, 'Guys, don't do this, this and this, and they'll try to adhere to that right away," Davis said.
It might not take many picks for the draft's quarterback depth to thin out, as teams holding four of the draft's first five picks have a need at the position. For the Oakland Raiders at No. 5, for instance, the quarterback decision could be made easier simply by subtraction. Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles, conceivably, could all be gone by that point.