Jaguars welcome Blake Bortles to Jacksonville
Updated On: May 09 2014 05:48:34 PM EDT
The Jaguars introduced former University of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles to Jacksonville on Friday, a day after he was drafted as the third pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The Jaguars took Bortles over fellow signal callers Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, as well as dynamic receiver Sammy Watkins and versatile defensive end Khalil Mack.
Bortles and the Jaguars team held a news conference on Friday afternoon in Jacksonville. Bortles was also given a No. 5 jersey-- the same number he wore while playing for the Knights.
Jacksonville has long needed a quarterback since taking Byron Leftwich in 2003 and Blaine Gabbert in 2011. But general manager Dave Caldwell made it seem like drafting a quarterback early was a long shot, saying Friday that "I think the majority of this (quarterback) class has a ways to go."
"When our college staff got together and our coaching staff got together, he was a unanimous consensus of the guy we all wanted," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said of Bortles. "This has been a guy that we know very well, obviously, being very close to us (in Orlando). ... He's a self-made guy, highly competitive, highly passionate about football."
The Jaguars, who were selecting in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive year, have 10 more picks in this year's draft. Most analysts expected the Jaguars to take a quarterback but not until later in the draft.
"It's so awesome. I'm so excited," Bortles told ESPN after he was selected. "I can't wait to get to Jacksonville. It was awesome going to Jacksonville and meeting with Mr. Caldwell and coach (Gus) Bradley. I had no idea what was going to happen. It's indescribable."
As a junior, Bortles, who played at Oviedo High School, led UCF to its first BCS bowl victory, a win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and a 12-1 record.
Bortles joins a team that went 4-12 last season and was led by Chad Henne at the quarterback position.
Owner Shad Khan said the team would draft as many as two signal callers, but Caldwell made it clear none of the quarterbacks in this year's draft is ready to play right away. Not even for Jacksonville, which already has made Henne the starter for 2014.
"We were very honest with Chad through this whole process," Caldwell said. "We told him that there was a chance we could draft a quarterback. ... Chad knew all along. ... He'll probably give us the best chance of winning this year, and Blake will obviously be the guy in the future.
"This first year is going to be critical for him to develop. For our system and what we want to do offensively, we thought Blake was the best fit."
Bortles, who's 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, threw for nearly 3,600 yards and 25 touchdowns in his final season at UCF.
The Houston Texans selected South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick, and the St. Louis Rams picked Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson at No. 2.