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Ben Roethlisberger would choose Blake Bortles over Johnny Manziel

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Ben Roethlisberger likes Blake Bortles. (USATSI)
Ben Roethlisberger likes Blake Bortles. (USATSI)

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Since nobody seems to know which about-to-be-drafted quarterback will go where and to whom, we might as well listen to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to get his thoughts on the matter.

Roethlisberger's take: he likes Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, but if he wanted a long-term franchise signal-caller, he'd probably go with the latter.

“I talked to Blake, and I know Blake has that fiery chip,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 FM in Pittsburgh, via the Tribune Review. “I think he's going to be the best one of the group because I see something in him, his competitiveness, his leadership. And I think he's got a lot of upside.”

But that's not to say Roethlisberger doesn't think Manziel can find professional success. He even said Manziel could be a star early in his career. What Roethlisberger worries about, though, is the long-term viability of allowing Manziel to make plays outside of the pocket.

More from Roethlisberger:

“I was in the weight room the other day with Joey Porter, (and he was) asking me what I thought about Manziel. I looked at Joey and said, ‘Joey, do you think if you got a good hit on him, that he would be OK? And he said, ‘No, not at all.' And that's my question.

“You have guys like Joey Porter, who's a big guy, guys that are fast like Troy (Polamalu), Ike Taylor coming off the edge, Lawrence Timmons. You'd better be real athletic, get down or be big to absorb the pounding an NFL quarterback can take.

“I think he definitely has a lot of upside, but let's wait and see. The key I'll say every year when I get asked about RGIII (Robert Griffin III), Andrew Luck, or whoever it is, Cam Newton. It's not about your first year, it's about years two, three and four.

“Can you sustain it when defenses, like Coach (Dick) LeBeau and the defenses he coaches, when they figure you out, can you find a way to stay a step above them?"

It's a legitimate question from one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league. And Roethlisberger certainly isn't alone in wondering if this is Manziel's fatal flaw. Soon enough, we'll see if Jacksonville is one of those who have questions about it.

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