Caldwell Didn’t Tell Anyone About Bortles

Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell didn’t tell anyone Blake Bortles was his man at No. 3 overall until two days before the draft. Literally. In fact, his wife was the first to know, as we learned in an interesting Sports On Earth article by Dan Pompei, who details the process by which Caldwell settled on Bortles and kept the decision under wraps:

  • By October, Caldwell was already anticipating having a pick at the top of the draft.
  • Caldwell took notice of Central Florida’s near-upset of South Carolina, a game in which Bortles threw for 358 yards.
  • By Halloween, Caldwell felt Bortles had potential to be a No. 1 overall selection.
  • The Jags held scouting meetings in December, at which time Caldwell still had not mentioned Bortles to anyone, not even on his scouting staff.
  • Caldwell instructed his coaches and scouts not to share opinions on prospects. “I didn’t want to influence anyone, or for anyone to be influenced by anyone else,” said Caldwell. “I wanted guys to come back with their own evaluations and see if we could find a consensus. They came back with a consensus [that Bortles] was the best quarterback for our system.”
  • Coaches and a team crosschecker shared the same opinion: Bortles was the best QB available.
  • After Bortles passed the eye test, analytic evaluation revealed he excelled under pressure, on third down and outside the pocket. “For our system, we want a combination of a guy who can create outside the pocket, but also who can stand in the pocket and deliver with pressure in his face,” Caldwell said.
  • In February, Bortles impressed at the Combine. In March, he validated his standing with an impressive pro day in front of 70 NFL people.
  • By the end of the process, Bortles “checked all the boxes.” Furthermore, Caldwell is comforted when he hears other teams also value him highly.
  • Two days before the draft, Caldwell told his wife that Bortles is the Jags’ man. Bortles had no idea.
  • Come Thursday night, Caldwell was not swayed by trade offers, and head coach Gus Bradley was on board with the pick.
  • Said Caldwell: “We feel if we can solidify the quarterback position, that’s huge for 10, 12 years down the road. And when you evaluate quarterbacks, they aren’t making 6-5, 240-pound quarterbacks very often who are very athletic and have the production and arm strength that Blake has.”
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One comment on “Caldwell Didn’t Tell Anyone About Bortles

  1. dc21892

    Sounds like if Houston grabbed him or St Louis traded out of number 2, Jax didn’t have much of a second choice. They threw all their eggs in one basket. They got lucky.


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