I am Nikhil Duggirala. I bring specialization in the Bay Area Sports Teams to the table.
Who will get picked number one?
This is the million-dollar question surrounding NFL teams every offseason. Last August, many experts were picking the Houston Texans to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. However, a combination of injuries, age, and coaching mismanagement led to the Texans’ downfall and the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
The Texans now have a new coaching staff, headed by former New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator and Penn State Head Coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien has worked with Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, and has gained insight on the intricacies of coaching from Bill Belichick.
O’Brien has openly stated that the Texans will draft a quarterback (or two) in the draft. The Texans have signed Ryan Fitzpatrick recently, but he is at best a stopgap starter. With the number one overall pick, the Texans have no reason for misdirection. This year’s draft is flushed with talent at the quarterback position, with many potential franchise QB’s such as Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Derek Carr in this year’s draft class. However, one man, Blake Bortles out of the University of Central Florida, stands tall above the rest.
Early on in mock draft season, Bortles was not high up on many people’s draft boards. But ever since the NFL Combine and his private workouts, Bortles has been steadily climbing up draft boards for many teams. Which brings us to our point. Blake Bortles has all the factors any team would want out of the quarterback position. He is tall enough to see over his linemen, has a strong arm, and has good accuracy. He is a proven winner and leader (see: 2014 Fiesta Bowl). Although his 40-yard dash times may be lacking when compared to “new-era” QB’s like Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, players like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have shown us that quarterbacks don’t need to be mobile in order to be effective.
Contrary to the situation for other teams at the top of the draft, the Texans do not have many holes in their roster. They have arguably the league’s best defender in J.J. Watt, as well as All-Pro wideout Andre Johnson. Former rushing title winner Arian Foster will be returning from surgery by the time the season rolls along. Linebacker Brian Cushing will also be healthy by the fall. The only real hole the Texans have is at the quarterback position, and they have the pieces ready to allow Bortles to grow into the position. Bortles may not be completely NFL-ready like Teddy Bridgewater, he presents the highest upside out of any signal caller in the draft. A talent-laden team like the Texans can afford to draft a quarterback talent like Bortles.
Although Blake Bortles may not possess the excitement of Johnny Manziel or NFL-readiness of Teddy Bridgewater, he does possess the necessary tangibles and intangibles to succeed as a modern-day signal caller. If Texans General Manager Rick Smith and Head Coach Bill O’Brien know what is best for their team and their jobs, Blake Bortles will hear his name called first in the Radio City Music Hall on May 8th.
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