NEW YORK CITY -- The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Blake Bortles with the third overall pick Thursday in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
In a stunning turn of events, the Jaguars selected a quarterback not named Johnny Manziel. Blake Bortles presents the better long-term potential for a franchise desperately in need of a quarterback upgrade. Bortles, an in-state product, will likely sit behind incumbent Chad Henne for a period before he's ready to take over the reins of the offense.
Bortles is a developmental prospect with all the physical tools to intrigue teams. But he's far from a polished passer. Bortles excels throwing on the run. He needs to refine his overall mechanics to reach his full potential.
Last season Bortles thew for 3500 yards, 28 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions for the University of Central Florida Knights.
In the last game of his college career, Bortles torched the Baylor Bears defense in the Fiesta Bowl January 1. He completed 20-31 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The 6'5'', 230 pound junior also rushed for 93 yards on 8 attempts.
According to USA Today, Bortles stood out with a strong, accurate performance, especially after his competitors for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, opted to wait until their pro day showcases for all 32 teams.
Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell told Bortles, " There was never any doubt in our mind from the beginning."
"I know you can handle the pressure here in Jacksonville you only played a couple hours away from here, right?" Caldwell said to Bortles just minutes before the announcement was made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"Bortles was by far the best quarterback,'' former NFL quarterback Jim Miller, now a Chicago Bears and SIRIUS NFL Radio analyst told USA TODAY Sports. "Bortles is the real deal. ...He probably runs better than Ben Roethlisberger. I'm not going to say he's an Andrew Luck, but when tacklers are draped on him, Bortles can still deliver the football."
Polian, now an ESPN analyst, said Bortles has the physical and mental traits requisite of a first-round selection. But he cautioned that the prototypical drop-back passer could use a year of NFL development.
Bortles said in February that he is still raw, "I need coaching. I need help. I think everybody in the game does.''
Reactions on Twitter were mixed:
"This was an important pick for us and an important pick for the franchise and we think you are gonna do great," Caldwell said to Bortles.
The newest Jaguars quarterback will address the Jacksonville media noon on Friday.