Jaguars No. 3 overall choice Blake Bortles had an encouraging pro debut against Tampa Bay last night, completing 7-of-11 pass attempts for 117 yards, “which included three drops and just one questionable decision, a check-down effort on 3rd-and-19 that was tipped and nearly picked off,” according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Paul Tenorio. Head coach Gus Bradley was quoted after the game, saying, “I thought [Bortles] did a nice job, showed some good poise. We felt like we could protect him. Just the poise factor, we wanted to see that in him, and he did a nice job.”
How did the other rookie QBs fare?
- Vikings first-rounder Teddy Bridgewater’s first play was encouraging, as he bootlegged right and threw a 21-yard strike on the move. The gain was negated by penalty, but Bridgewater performed well enough against Oakland to generate excitement despite an uneven stat line (6-of-13, 49 yards, two sacks, fumble). Overall, Bridgewater generated excitement, but clearly has aspects of his game to work on before he challenges for the starting job. “He looked unsteady at times when challenged by unfamiliar defensive alignments,” according to Brian Murray of TwinCities.com.
- Meanwhile, Derek Carr, chosen by the Raiders four picks after Bridgewater, went 10-of-16 for 76 yards an interception (which should have been caught by the intended receiver). Carr was victimized by a few drops and bailed out on a few throws behind his receiver, but overall received passing grades in his debut. In terms of improvement areas, ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez notes the rookie needs to work on his touch.
- As Dallas Robinson mentioned last night, Patriots second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo looked better in his first NFL game action than he had looked in practice, outshining veteran backup Ryan Mallett. The rookie from Eastern Illinois went 9-of-13 for 157 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo “showed a poise and pocket presence that was impressive,” according to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian. “The players in the huddle responded to him. And, unlike Mallett, who struggled at times dealing with a shaky offensive line, Garoppolo made plays when the going got tough during Thursday night’s 23-6 loss to the Redskins in the preseason opener.”
- As for Browns 22nd overall pick Johnny Manziel, his debut in Detroit tonight ranks as one of the most anticipated preseason games in recent memory. “The Johnny Football Circus comes to Detroit” as Free Press columnist Drew Sharp puts it. The game is sold out and the Lions issued credentials for all 200 seats of the press box, reports Sharp’s colleague Dave Birkett.