UCF Coach: Bortles Not A 'Franchise QB'
UCF coach George O'Leary doesn't think quarterback Blake Bortles is a franchise quarterback, he told a Houston radio station this week.
"I think a franchise quarterback comes out once every 10 years, and he came out last year in (Andrew) Luck," O'Leary said on the show, according to NFL.com. "The ones I see succeed are understudies."
Granted, Luck entered the NFL two years ago. But O'Leary's point is well-taken: Even with more success in recent seasons, it's still unlikely for rookie quarterbacks to enter the NFL, start immediately and play at a high level.
O'Leary's remarks are relevant for a number of reasons. New Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has worked under O'Leary previously, and the Texans at No. 1 overall may consider drafting a quarterback. (Penn State lost to UCF this season when O'Brien was coach, so he's familiar with Bortles.)
It sounds critical at first blush, but examining O'Leary's comments, they aren't meant to be a knock on the quarterback who helped lead his team to the American Athletic Conference championship and a surprise Fiesta Bowl win. It seems his main point was that Bortles, along with some of the others in the 2014 draft class, will need time to develop into a solid NFL starter, in his opinion.
Bortles threw for more than 3,500 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year. As Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports tweeted Thursday, O'Leary didn't offer Bortles until missing out on several other quarterbacks he coveted, but to be fair, Bortles only got four FBS offers, and two of those were to play as a tight end.
"Blake has all the things you're looking for in a quarterback as far as size and mental capacity to handle a lot of things," O'Leary said on the radio show. "But that first year is tough because those guys are moving a lot faster than the college guys. ... Blake is going to be fine-tuned to what he needs to get done in the pro ranks. He's a quick study and a quick learner."