Jaguars Plan to Give Rookie QB Bortles Year to Develop
The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t want to make the same mistake with Blake Bortles that they did with Blaine Gabbert. In an effort not to rush their rookie quarterback, the Jaguars are fully expected to do all they can to sit the number three overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for the entire 2014 season.
This logic makes sense for various reasons. Gabbert’s ineptitude as a rookie in 2011 reminded everyone how important pocket presence really is, as well as how dangerous it can be to throw an unprepared rookie quarterback into the fire. Gabbert’s stats weren’t horrible that season, but he completed just 50.8% of his passes. He was specifically horrible inside the pocket, especially when under intense pressure.
It wasn’t all Gabbert’s fault early on, as his offensive line was brutal and his supporting cast didn’t do much for him. Regardless, he didn’t work out and after three years the Jags shipped him off to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth round draft pick.
In comes Bortles, who like Gabbert has some nice raw ability, including great size, a good arm and solid, deceptive athleticism. Bortles has the potential to be an excellent franchise passer, but still lacks necessary polish and has consistency issues when it comes to accuracy and decision-making.
Jacksonville has the freedom to let him sit to start his first season, as last year’s starter, Chad Henne, returns to man the job in week one. Henne isn’t a world beater by any means, but isn’t the worst stop-gap in the world. Considering the Jaguars aren’t about to make a Super Bowl run with either passer, the team is opting to let Bortles sit and learn the nuances of the game, while improving the fundamentals of his own game in practice each week.
It’s not all that likely that Bortles can emerge from his rookie season without taking a single snap, but it does appear that’s exactly what the Jaguars hope will happen.
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