It's official: The Jaguars have signed quarterback Blake Bortles to his rookie contract.
#Jaguars signing QB Blake Bortles this morning before practice.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) June 18, 2014
Source: Blake Bortles' contract fully guaranteed -- $20,654,796. #Jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) June 18, 2014
The 6'5", 232-pound Bortles was originally recruited by most colleges as a tight end out of high school. UCF, however, opted to give Bortles a shot to be their signal caller and it paid off in a big way. Bortles ended his college career passing for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns and just nine interceptions his junior year, including a dominating Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor.
Many bemoaned Jacksonville for "reaching" to grab Bortles at the No. 3 overall pick. But in the weeks following the 2014 NFL Draft, several general managers and front offices around the league confessed just how highly they had Bortles rated on their board -- including Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim, who said Bortles was the only quarterback their team had assigned a first round grade.
Bortles was a "late riser" in the draft process because most expected him to go back to school for his senior season, but he's got all the physical traits team look for in a quarterback and seems poised in the pocket under duress. Head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell have said repeatedly that Bortles will likely need to sit for a little bit and work on his mechanics, but the Jaguars noted they planned to sit any quarterback they drafted anyway.