2015 NFL DRAFT

2014 NFL Draft: Blake Bortles to meet with Texans, Jaguars

By Jeff Reynolds | NFLDraftScout.com

Blake Bortles was happy to throw at the combine. (USATSI)
Blake Bortles could be the first QB off the board in May's draft. (USATSI)

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Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles confirmed he will meet with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, visits that will take place at the team facilities this month.

Bortles is projected to be a top-10 draft pick and NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler has maintained since January that Bortles would be the top overall pick in the 2014 draft if Houston keeps the pick. (Counterpart Rob Rang thinks Jadeveon Clowney is the guy.)

Bortles will work out March 19 at the UCF pro day in Orlando and it's expected he will meet with several teams before and after that event.

He was the only quarterback in NFLDraftScout.com's top three -- Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel -- to throw at the Scouting Combine.

"It's a level playing field from the quarterback perspective, so I really don't understand why guys don't throw," Bortles told SiriusXM Sports.

"I think it was hard to sit in the meeting room and tell them, 'I'm a competitor, I want to compete in every aspect, but I don't want to throw today because it's an uncomfortable situation."

The Texans are looking at quarterbacks. Head coach Bill O'Brien worked out Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday in Evanston, Ill. The Texans are expected to have a presence at Louisville (March 17), UCF and Texas A&M (March 27) to closely evaluate all three quarterbacks.

O'Brien downplayed his connection with Bortles' college coach, George O'Leary, but is sure to pry his former boss -- O'Brien worked on O'Leary's coaching staff for several seasons -- for insight on Bortles.

O'Brien also saw Bortles in person last season from the Penn State sideline, and after watching him complete 20 of 27 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns, O'Brien opened up the compliment jar.

"Anytime you have a quarterback like (Bortles) who is accurate, has a strong arm, is big and can stand in the pocket and can run, it is a difficult challenge," O'Brien said. "He played a great game tonight and all the credit to him. I think he is a heck of a player. I didn't get a chance to meet him or say hello to him, but I think he is a heck of a player. He had a great game."

That meeting will occur soon enough.

Jacksonville has the No. 3 overall pick and remains interested in several quarterbacks in the draft and might look to free agency. Chad Henne was the starter at the end of last season and former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert is all but forgetten.

General manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley praised Bortles last month at the combine and also confessed to being deep in evaluations of Bridgewater and Manziel.

Follow Jeff Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsJD

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