We're still two months off from the NFL Draft, which means we have two months to debate which quarterback will be the first to go off the board. Central Florida's Blake Bortles is the early favorite, though that could change in the coming days and weeks.
Whatever happens, this much is a certainty: Among Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, Bortles was the only future first-round pick to throw at last month's NFL combine. In recent years, that's become the exception; high-profile passers rarely do more than run at the combine, saving their scripted throwing sessions for pro days that feature familiar receivers.
During an appearance Wednesday on SiriusXM Sports with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt, Bortles talked about his combine experience, particularly his decision to throw.
"My thing is, I wanted to show the teams that I was here to compete," Bortles said. "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.' I think taking that initiative to throw, it shows that this is who I am, this is my opportunity to make a first impression, and I'm going to do it in Indianapolis at the combine. [That] was big for me and I really enjoyed it."
And Bortles didn't accept the idea that throwing to unfamiliar receivers was reason enough to shut it down at the combine.
"I don't really understand why guys don't throw," he said. "Every single quarterback that throws is faced with a little adversity. Nobody knows those receivers. Guys are going to run at different speed, they're going to come out of cuts at different angles, they're going to break routes off early -- all that kind of stuff -- but everybody has to deal with it. It's a level playing field from the quarterback perspective. So I really don't understand why guys don't throw. Like you said, it shows your competitive nature. As long as you take the proper drop and put the ball where you should put it, I think it's a good rep. That's what I was focused on doing and that's what I did."
Next up for Bortles: Impressing at his March 19 pro day.
"Obviously, my goal at my pro day is to not let the ball touch the ground," he said. "I don't want to do that by having guys run half speed and just lobbing the ball out there and letting them make easy catches. I want to show off timing, show off tempo and speed in my drop and put the ball on the money."
Bortles said that he already has two visits lined up -- with the Texans and Jaguars -- and fully expects more to follow.