On Tuesday, Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando that if the team fell in love with a quarterback, they wouldn't hesitate to grab him at No. 4 overall. One candidate for the club is Bortles, and the team likely will end up bringing him in for a workout in the near future.
"I have not spoken to anybody from the Cleveland Browns, but I'm sure I will be," O'Leary said on a recent podcast for the site.
General manager Ray Farmer was reportedly at Bortles' pro day, but a few of the team's offensive staff members were noticeably absent from the workout. Maybe it's a misdirection play, maybe it isn't. Bortles remains a possibility at either of the club's two first-round picks if still on the board with a significant need at the quarterback position, however.
While the signal-callers in the draft have generally seen their stock drop the past two weeks, Bortles may be one of the exceptions after his impressive showing in front of scouts last week.
"I think the month and a half or two months that Blake spent out in California working on techniques he needed to work on showed off drastically as far as improvement at his pro day," O'Leary added. "He helped himself, there's no question, in terms of ball delivery, foot speed and just the tightness of everything that he worked at."
Cleveland.com's Glenn Moore, the host of the podcast that spoke with O'Leary, brought up a similarity many are making with the 6-foot-5, 232-pound Bortles by saying he plays a bit like the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger. There was not much disagreement on O'Leary's end with that comparison based on what he's seen in practice and during games.
"I think that's fair. All the good ones have to have the ability to keep a play alive," he said. "Blake has that ability and he showed it this past year. He's very aware of what's going on around him."
One of the knocks on Bortles is that he might need some time to develop early in his NFL career despite having the makeup scouts want in a franchise quarterback. O'Leary conceded his former player needs to continue to refine his accuracy and anticipation but teams will be getting a guy who can win games right from the beginning.
"I think anybody that drafts Blake early needs him to play. I think basically that he'll accept that challenge," O'Leary said. "Some guys just have it. He has it. I've been in the NFL and coached there, and he has all the skills you're looking for. It all depends on how you nurture things when you add the playbook and all those things.
"I do think he's a quick study as far as learning. He's a guy that's going to do whatever he has to do to play and will be competitive."