The NFL Scouting Combine is soon to begin and as usual several big name prospects are on the fence about fully participating in the drills come time for what we now loving refer to as the “Underwear Olympics.” With so much to lose/gain on one set of workouts those who can afford to bail on doing some of the practice throwing/receiving drills (read: top prospects) often choose to let their body of work speak for themselves if they are a top round talent already.
This tradition is mainly reserved to quarterbacks and that trend will not change this year as Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron reportedly plan not to throw. Those withdraws don’t concern potential top pick Blake Bortles, who tweeted today that he is excited for the combine. Including throwing.
Dreamt about the combine since I was a kid! Fired up to compete in all aspects of it, especially throwing!
— Blake Bortles (@BBortles5) February 18, 2014
Bortles presence at the combine is an intriguing one. Namely because he has an outside chance of being a first round pick or even falling out of the first round altogether. Houston reportedly have interest in Bortles due to his physical tools in arm strength and size which are two things renowned QB guru and new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien covets. With an impressive showing at the combine, namely with his accuracy Bortles could continue to add to his first round resume and silence the talk of his weaknesses and poor level of competition (albeit playing in the same conference as Teddy Bridgewater).
Whether you agree with combine throwing having an impact on draft stock of a player this is a move that is both a gamble and a shrewd move for Bortles. If the UCF QB is confident in his abilities to have a good combine session there is nothing wrong with showing scouts what he can do in a practice environment. With the potential to control his narrative as much as possible Bortles is avoiding allowing his stock to be lowered by those who criticize those who do not participate in the combine and can firmly plant himself as a top talent in the process.